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World Movements Start With “Follow Me” Leaders

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In this simple statement Jesus assumes full responsibility for turning experienced fishermen into capable fishers of men. He reminds us that leadership means being willing and able to equip others. For Jesus, the journey of moving the disciples from enthusiastic beginners to competent leaders starts with this simple sentence.

Notice the practical beauty of His promise. If they will “follow Him”—go where He goes, listen to what He says, watch what He does, do what He asks and receive His feedback—they will be equipped to carry the Gospel to the world. They followed. He equipped. We are their legacy! In Matthew 4 we see six basic steps of effective equipping. They are:

  • Give people a reason to be equipped.
  • Tell people what a win is.
  • Show people what a win looks like.
  • Allow people to learn on the job.
  • Observe their performance.
  • Offer helpful feedback.

Knowing and using these six steps can help move enthusiastic beginners to consistent and capable performers who can equip others. Here the six steps are explained:

The first step is critical—giving people a reason to be equipped. Whether you are equipping volunteers or employees, a clear “why” allows people to choose to put themselves in the posture of a learner. This does not have to be an inspirational speech. It does need to be a conversation that clearly connects them to the outcome you are seeking and how you think this equipping will benefit them and their role in the organization.

The second step—telling people what a win is. Good performance begins with clearly stated objectives. This seems basic, but the point of equipping is not skill development. It is outcome accomplishment. If we are not careful, we end up correcting people for things they did not know that they are supposed to do. With clearly stated and time- bound goals it is much easier to equip people to succeed and celebrate when they make progress.

The third step—showing people what a win looks like. Telling people what you want is good teaching. Providing people with a clear picture or model of steps to perform the task is great equip- ping. Showing people, the stages of goal accomplishment allows them to know if they are working hard enough or doing the right things necessary to be successful.

The fourth step—allowing people to learn on the job. In this step you put the ball in the court of the person you are training. Good equippers will help trainees pace their performance. Many times, enthusiastic beginners will take on more than they can handle. This sets them up for failure when things don’t go their way. The result is disillusionment with their leader, the organization, and their role in it.

The fifth step—observing people’s performance. Observation when done correctly does not feel like micromanagement. When those we are equipping know that we are observing them to help them succeed, our feedback feels like concern and encouragement. On the other hand, beginners feel it is unfair for a leader to equip them for a new and unfamiliar assignment and then disappear and leave them to figure things out on their own.

The sixth step—offering helpful feedback. Beginners need helpful and scheduled feedback soon and often. Feedback that is helpful involves praise and redirection. The two goals of feedback are first to praise people for making progress and demonstrating initiative and effort. Secondly, redirection is to help learners see where their perform-ance is lacking and how it can be adjusted so that they can try again.

So, tomorrow start your day assuming everybody you see is coming to work or ministry wanting to do his or her very best. Using these six steps will strengthen your influence. At the end of the day, you will have added value to those you lead, and they will know they have an ally they can depend on when the chips are down!

What do you know about effective training that you would add to this list? Who could benefit from this blog on your team?

Lead Missional Strategist

Bob Bumgarner