Empowering! That is what I want to be. I want to be a leader that empowers others to do great things for the Kingdom of God. At this early stage of my ministry I try to do exactly that. Sometimes it works, and other times…well…let’s just say we are learning.
The question we have to answer is…what does it mean to empower people? Do we just say, “Go for it!” and hope that they find their way? Or…is there more “leadership” involved in empowering others?
Yesterday evening we went outside for a short while to let Maggie ride her bike. She is only 2.5 years old so she needs a lot of help. We have to get her bike out of the garage, carry it to the road (she is not strong enough to peddle it through the gravel), put her helmet on her, and sometimes even set her on the bike. After all that work…we get the amazing joy of watching our little girl ride her bike…look at us with a huge smile on her face and say, “Look Daddy! I did it all by myself!” There is no greater joy in life than seeing your child succeed.
I learned some things about empowering others from my little Princess last night. Here are some thoughts.
1. Resource them. It is not enough to tell them to ride the bike. Sometimes you have to get it all ready for them, offer them a helmet for protection, set them on the bike, and point them in the right direction before you can tell them to peddle.
2. Set people up for success. If they are just learning to ride a bike and don’t have the experience they need to ride in the gravel…DON’T start them out in the gravel. You are just setting them up for failure…and they will lose interest. Offer them a starting point in which you have great confidence that they will have success from.
3. Let go! I am overprotective of my little girl so it is hard for me to let go knowing she could tip the bike (yes…even one with 3 wheels…it has happened). But, you must let go and let them try it for themselves. If you have set them up for success and have confidence in them…you will let go.
4. Celebrate the success. When they are excited about riding the bike…you should be too! Let them know that you are proud of them. Tell them. Really! Tell them you are proud of what they have been able to do.
5. Allow Relief. Sometimes people need a break. If those little legs have been peddling for a while…and they are tired. Give them an opportunity to get off the bike for a while. Odds are…the next morning…they will be asking to get back on the bike again.
I know that there are other things to consider when empowering others…but when you (1)resource the people, (2)set them up for success, (3)let go, (4)celebrate their success, and (5)allow them relief…you will experience the great joy when they look at you with joy and excitement in their eyes and say, “Look! I did it all by myself.” That is an empowered person.