Drawing the Gold Out of Those You Lead

Mar 7, 2024

Your leadership can make a positive impact on the individuals you lead. A great mark of a leader isn’t just that your team is hitting the rights metrics of success for the organization. It’s also that the individuals you lead are more fully realizing and maximizing their God-given potential:

  • They are drawing closer to Jesus.
  • They are discovering their unique strengths and learning how to leverage them.
  • They are growing in their character.
  • They are maturing in their communication.
  • They are stepping out of their comfort zone and taking new risks.
  • They are figuring out their goals.
  • They are taking responsibility for their personal growth.

So here a few different ways you can draw out the gold in those you lead— helping them grow and mature:

1. Pray for their blessing.

Prayer is powerful! When you pray for those you lead you are impacting their lives for the better and deepening and maturing your love for them.

  • Ask often how you can pray for them.
  • Schedule when you will pray for them and keep a list of prayer requests to follow up with them.

What to pray:

  • Pray for God’s guidance, provision, protection, and care for them and their families.
  • Pray scripture over them.
  • Prayer for the things they’ve specifically asked you to pray for.
  • Pray they would grow in their understanding of God’s love for them and others.

2. Ask questions and listen.

Good leaders are good listeners. They don’t just ask the obvious questions, they ask the follow-up ones, and specific questions that prompt honesty, openness, and reflection.

You don’t want to surround yourself with ‘yes’ people who never question anything or bring up a concern. You want people to feel like they can ask, share, and voice things respectfully and constructively. Asking questions gives people that permission and demonstrates that you see their value on the team.

After listening, your decisions may change. Or they may not. You may agree with them, or you may not. But, you will understand them better, and that will give you insight on how to better lead them. 

Here’s a few questions you can use to prompt greater understanding:

  • What’s the life lesson you are learning right now? Or what is God teaching you right now?
  • What wins did you experience over this past month? What didn you learn from them?
  • What’s the most challenging thing for you right now?
  • Where do you feel stuck right now and why?
  • What are you enjoying most right now? Why?
  • How are you doing… really?
  • How can I help you or support you?
  • How can I pray for you?
  • If you could accomplish one thing over the next 3 months, what would it be and why?
  • What are you most excited about when you look ahead to the next 3 months?

 3. Show you care.

John Maxwell is right: People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. They want to be seen as individuals and cared for. They need to feel like more than bodies in the room. They want to be valued as teammates with real feelings, life challenges, hopes and dreams.

There are certainly times when we can show up for people in a big way, eg. the loss of a loved one, hospital visits, moving day, etc.

But often it’s the little acts done consistently that show you care like asking about their weekend, remembering their birthday, picking them up a coffee, writing a thank you note.

Schedule your care. Keep a list for yourself. Good intentions without a plan make for little impact.

4. Correct privately.

You can’t help someone grow in their gifts and mature in their character without having to give constructive feedback. Don’t embarrass someone or react in frustration. Pull them aside or schedule a time to talk.

  • Be kind.
  • Be direct.
  • Believe the best.
  • Speak to their potential.
  • Invite questions.
  • Redirect to the standard or behavior expected.
  • Arrive at clear actions steps for improvement.

5. Celebrate them publicly.

Flattery is manipulative, but complimenting someone’s progress, achievements, and attitudes is a form of encouragement.

Don’t be general. Be specific. Thank someone for the positive attitude they had throughout the project or the excellent work they brought to the meeting or the resourcefulness with which they solved that problem.

You can do this through through emails, in meetings, and my favorite–brag about them when they aren’t around.

Your public celebration of them will not only encourage them, but reinforce your values and culture as a team.

6. Speak to their strengths.

Help them discover, develop and leverage their strengths. Most people are their own worst critics and tend to focus on their weakness, instead on giving attention to their strengths.

  • Watch how they work
  • Examine the quality of their work
  • Listen to what they are most excited about and/or enjoy most about the work
  • Pray and ask for God to show you
  • Talk to them about their strengths
  • Ask them how they can further develop them
  • Position them and support them to operate in those strengths more and more

7. Call them by their potential.

I will never forget the first time someone called me a leader. I was a 19, hosting a small group for high school girls. The youth pastor called me a leader after observing how I facilitated the small group. I didn’t hold a position or title of leadership, no one was paying me to lead or asking my advice on leadership. I was a true novice in leadership. But because someone I respected called me by my potential it forver changed what I believed I was capable of.

8. Help them create a plan for their personal growth.

You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s personal development, but you can help them create a plan for their own.

Ask them about their hopes, dreams, and goals. Encourage them to come up with a plan towards those goals. Share resources that can help them. Encourage the steps forward they are taking. Create a culture of growth by creating opportunities for shared learning.

Thanks for reading!

I pray this is a help to you.

Share this with someone who has drawn out the gold in you, thanking them for their leadership.