Do You Model What You Ask Others To Do?

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By on February 1, 2005   /   Leave a comment

The movie Gladiator opens with the Roman general Maximus leading his troops into battle against a horde of vicious barbarians. While most generals would simply sit on a distant hill observing, Maximus was leading the charge himself, all the while yelling at the top of his lungs, “Stay with me! Staaaay with meeee!” No wonder he never lost a battle—mainly because his men had incorporated the same loyalty and bravery their leader had modeled for years. The reason they respected Maximus so much? He never asked them to do anything he wasn’t willing to do himself.

I’ve known a few “field generals” like Maximus in Christian ministries: men and women who get their hands dirty by leading the charge, rather than sit at the back pushing buttons and pulling strings. This stark contrast in leadership philosophies plays itself out in support raising also.

I’ve received a myriad of phone calls over the years from leaders of Christian ministries whose staff are struggling with their personal support levels. As I probe a little deeper, I ask that leader if he or she is on personal support also. They usually stumble and stutter a bit, saying that it was the Board that wanted to pay them a salary or that their schedule is so busy they don’t have the time, etc, etc, etc….

At this point I shoot up a quick prayer, take a big gulp, and gently say, “Well, if you want, I can tell you how to turn this whole ship around.” I then share how they can become a “field general” rather than an “armchair quarterback” by taking the time to go raise their entire monthly personal support team and thus model to their staff exactly what they’re asking them to do. For most, that action step feels a little too radical and cracks the comfort zone many leaders have built around themselves. Sometimes I don’t hear back from them.

If you want to be a respected, followed leader of a loyal and brave staff team, consider these few steps:

   1. Raise your personal support team—Don’t just raise organizational money that your salary is taken out of. That’s different. Model what you are asking them to do by getting to 100% and staying at 100%.

   2. Take staff out on support raising appointments. Don’t just tell them, show them how you do it.

   3. Never again ask your staff to do anything that you’re not doing yourself. Sometimes when Christian workers move to headquarters and get the corner office with the nameplate on the door they start to think they’re excused from the standards the rank and file staff are required to follow.

If the support raising DNA in your organization is weak, I believe you can “re-create” it by starting now to be a field general who consistently talks and walks the “Stay with me!” attitude.

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