Some tenuous connections
In this blog entry, I will try to connect these ideas: salespeople, leaders and status.
A few weeks ago, we were in a furniture shop, looking at a large table. We were very interested in it. We liked it. We were sitting at it. We kept coming back to it. And then the young sales assistant came in our direction. He didn't say anything to us, but we got his attention and asked him some questions about the table, the chairs, the price, the availability and anything else we could think of. He answered each question with vague, short answers. He offered no additional information. His body language was closed, and he couldn't see, or didn't care that we were interested in the table, and would have bought it if we had had some encouragement. We were looking to him for answers and he missed out on a dead cert sale.
Scenario 2: (I have my husband's permission for this story!)
My husband is a final year student at his college. All the students living in our college community car pool in and back every day. Hubby was driving his car one day, and was asked at lunch by another student if he had room to take him home. Hubby is not in charge of the car roster and he is not always the most clear on who is in his car (he figures if they are late, they miss out, but he'll take whoever turns up on time) so he said, "Oh, I don't know. Sorry." The other student said words to the effect of "You're a bit vague and not much help."
In a few months time, I will be a 'minister's wife'. It's an odd position, because it is not a 'position' in the official sense that I am accountable to anyone, or get paid for anyone, yet it is a position in an unofficial sense that I will have a certain status and a certain leadership role. People will look to me to answer some questions and do some things. I will be treated by some with a respect that shows I have a leadership position, even though I do not officially have it.
Right. Now to connect the dots.
Leadership can be like sales. If the young sales guy had shown a bit of interest and initiative, befitting his official position, he would have succeeded.
Even if you don't have an official position, like my husband, who was not in charge of the car roster, people will often look to you for leadership and help. If you do not have the answers, or if you don't want the job of being in charge, instead of abdicating the leadership, you can treat it like sales and use initiative and energy in helping the person to solve their problem. ("Hmm, I don't know because I never take notice of these things. But you could ask X, who's in charge of it, or if you want to turn up at leaving time, if there's a spot I'll take you.")
Next year people will treat me as a leader just because I'm married to a leader in the church. So instead of denying it or trying to run away from it, I could pull out my salesperson brain, accept the status afforded me and use initiative and energy in helping people solve their problems.
If that's all too convoluted, move on to the next blog.