Posts Tagged ‘relational’

Nehemiah: Leading By Encouragement

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Facing down an army of people who want you dead is never easy. I say this not from experience but simply from being human; no one wants to be killed. When Nehemiah set up his plan for defending his followers he looked out over the people and said:

Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes. 4:14

I think Nehemiah saw fear in the people and sought out a way to encourage them to fight. We don’t know if he gave a longer speech than this single recorded verse. My guess is that he didn’t since they were not all gathered in the same place but were spread out in various locations in the city. I think he probably traveled from place to place repeating his encouragement. If you were going to war what more would you want to hear than:

  • Remember the Lord – remember his promise to you and remember his power to fulfill it
  • The Lord is great and awesome – he is for you and not against you
  • Fight for your brothers, sons, daughters, wives – we are most motivated when we know our cause is bigger than ourselves
  • Fight for your homes – this is your land, your very life, fight for it!

I think this is a great way of encouraging the people who are following you. Leaders should always point their people back to God and appeal to the selflessness of doing something for the ones you love. Nehemiah gave them a plan and the tools they needed and now they are encouraged to carry it out.

Is your plan struggling to gain momentum? Could be that your people are discouraged or fearful of the possible outcomes. How can you encourage them in what they are doing?


Nehemiah: Distractions, Part 2

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Most distractions can be ignored (see part 1); others must be dealt with.

Know When To Fight

The first distraction was simply verbal so Nehemiah reaffirmed and restated his goal (get the wall built) and moved on. The second directly threatened the goal. An army was assembled to fight against the workers. This one had to be dealt with or else work would have stopped.

Nehemiah did not change his goal though, he did not direct all of his energy towards fighting off an army. He kept the work going but reduced the load. The workers carried less so that they could carry a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other. By the way, this is where C. H. Spurgeon got the idea for his publication. Nehemiah also set up guards to keep watch, this took the pressure off the workers and also let the opposition know he was well defended. Finally, trumpeters were placed at each work location so that if they were attacked they could call for help.

There is something in common with all three of Nehemiah’s defenses: they focus on the work and not the problem. The workers were given weapons so they could fight if necessary but they didn’t have to concern themselves with it, they could focus on their job. Guards were set up so that the workers weren’t worried all the time about a surprise attack. Communication was put in place so that everyone would know that they were supported and not left on their own.

You can count on distractions coming up in your projects. Knowing which ones will keep you from completing your goal and which ones won’t is a very good skill to have. To really refine that skill you need to add the ability to deal with true distractions in a way that keeps the emphasis on the goal and the people working towards that goal.

Nehemiah: Recognize People’s Efforts

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Nehemiah 3 chronicles all of the people who helped reach the goal: get the wall built. Why bother to write down and publish a list of all of the names of the people and families that worked on the wall though? Because that is relational managing. It lets people know that they are a part of something. That they are accomplishing a great work.

By keeping a record of who is doing what you are acknowledging people’s efforts and making them feel human. We want relational work, not cheap efforts. We want work that grows people, not just products. It reminds me of a great post on Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership from Michael Hyatt. Michael says one way MLK Jr. lead well was by acknowledging the sacrifice of his followers.

There are plenty of ways to do this other than writing their name down in a book. Most of them only take a few minutes to do but the effects will be dramatic. Make sure it is public and includes details. Think of a few right now and make it a point to act on them soon.

Nehemiah: Focus On People

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Everyone is on board with Nehemiah’s single goal, get the wall built, but now they are in the thick of it doing the actual work.

Cogs or Humans?

Looking at chapter 3 we see the people are told to rebuild the area of the wall closest to their own homes. The alternative would be to break up the work into corporatized chunks so that if you can swing a hammer you are on hammer duty in whatever area needs it but if you can lay brick you need to lay brick somewhere else. This adds a layer of complexity in the hope that you’ll be done a week earlier but makes it less relational in the process. This places the value on the work rather than the people doing the work.

By allowing people to work on what they really want to (their own neighborhood) you’ve let people work like human beings, not specalized cogs. Look at what this accomplishes:

  • motivating – everyday you go to sleep seeing what you’ve accomplished and you wake up knowing what is ahead of you. This is refreshing and motivating.
  • morale boosting – your family and friends are near-by as you work, lending support and encouragement.
  • efficient – all the supplies and tools you need are right there, you don’t have to go home on your lunch break because you forgot your hammer. Speaking of lunch breaks; you don’t have to question where you are going to eat because your family is preparing food right across the street.
  • confidence boosting – you know the area around your home better than anyone else, who better to work on it? You can be confident that the things you are fixing are the right things because you saw how they were supposed to look everyday. This also gives you the opportunity to fix anything you didn’t like before.
  • helpful – you know your neighbors are right down the road working on the wall as well. If you need help lifting bricks you know exactly who to turn to.
  • community building – everyone on the block is working towards the same goal. This creates a great bond between people. It also helps resolve any conflicts that might come up because you all want the same outcome.

Look at the ways you’re working with people right now, are you doing them in the way Jesus commanded you to, in love?