3 Things You Can Always Do As A Leader
By: Taylor Snodgrass
Hello. My name is Taylor, and I make excuses.
As much as I hate to admit that, it’s true. I make excuses for why I can’t do something. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough information. I don’t know how to do that. It all ends with the same thing, though. I can’t.
But is that really true? Is there truly nothing I can do? To be a strong and trustworthy leader, I can’t pass the buck. If I’m to be a leader worth following, then I need to come to the table with more than, “I can’t.” So in those moments, we come to a crossroads. We can simply say, “I don’t know. Go ask someone else.” Or we can step into our role as strong, confident leaders and exhibit an “I can” attitude. Here are three ways we can always take an “I can” stance and grow our leadership influence.
- I can…ask questions to understand.
Often times, someone will ask me a question about a project that I’m not directly involved in. The easy answer is, “I’m not involved in that, so I can’t help you.” But chances are I know a little bit about it. Chances are I can be somewhat helpful. I can ask questions. I can try to understand the question and situation. Once I understand what’s going on, chances are I can help answer that question. Even if I don’t know the exact answer, I can at least point someone in the right direction of where they can get the information they need.
- I can…learn how.
One of my go-to excuses is, “I don’t know how.” It’s easy. It’s not something anyone can challenge. If I don’t know how to do something, I’m off the hook. Except I shouldn’t be. As leaders, we should always be getting better. We should always be learning, and that doesn’t only mean reading the newest Patrick Lencioni book. That means adding to your toolbox. There’s a tremendous amount of respect and trust built when you, as the leader, are willing to roll up your sleeves and learn a new skill to help the team. Learning new skills is something we can agree we want our teams to do, so let’s lead the way and do so ourselves.
- I can…stick with it.
Sometimes, I just don’t want to deal with it. Something comes up that I don’t know a ton about, and as I start asking questions and trying to learn, I get over it. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. It starts to seem like more effort than it’s worth. But if a team member is coming to you with a problem, that’s when they need us as leaders the most. We want to lead teams that trust us and will give their all for our vision. To build that trust, we need to show up for our team. We need to stick it out and fight for our team. The classic saying of “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” applies. We need to be the tough that stick with it and see it through.
Next time someone comes to you, and your first reaction is, “I can’t,” try stepping back, taking a breath, and responding instead with, “I can…”
Taylor Snodgrass is the Associate Programming Director at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where he lives with his wife, Heather. He is passionate about leading others to excellence in the church and in their every day lives.