Lead Well: 8 Ways to Sharpen Our People Focus

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. [Proverbs 27:17]
Everyday we interact with others. Everyday how we deal with these interactions can help us win friends and influence people. Or maybe not.

Some people seem to be naturally gifted in building relationships, handling confrontation, harnessing the opportunities that new encounters can bring. Some of us aren’t. Instead we focus more on ourselves, our interests, our point of view, our growth and our need for affirmation.

To lead well in life is to turn the focus from ourselves on to other people. To intentionally think of them. To take responsibility for playing our part which in reality is the only part we can take responsibility for.

Smile. Costs nothing to give.

Remember names. Who enjoys being called by the wrong one.

Speak words of encouragement. Specific words show we have noticed something someone has done well.

Believe the best of people. This is the difference when we focus on others and not ourselves. We can be too keen to protect our own position because we believe in us more than others.

Recognise the power of having the right people around you. People can work with you, help you to grow, stop you from making mistakes, and keep you on track with all you want to accomplish.

Pass on what you know to someone. Help others to grow. Pour into another what you have had poured into you.

The best of relationships take time and effort. Building anything takes time and great relationships are no different. Don’t compare the depth of your friendships with people with the ones they have with others. Just be a friend, serving and loving them the best you can.

Help people to know you better. It’s not that people don’t like me, it’s that they don’t understand me. Or I could put it another way and say it’s that they don’t know me well enough.

When we focus on these things we sharpen others. We make them better. We brighten their countenance. We lift them. We put a smile on their face. We put a spring in their step. We become someone known as someone who is all about helping others to flourish. 

The alternative is way too selfish and doesn’t bear thinking about.

How do you sharpen your people focus?

The Right Relationships Matter the Most

Experts say that we are the average of the five people we hang around with the most. Certainly makes you think.

Who are you doing life with?

John Maxwell talks about our inner circle and that we need different types of people in that circle, who between them will bring out the best in us, believe the best of us and build a life with us. They don’t complete us or compete with us but rather compliment us.

Brings a bunch of questions to my mind:
Who are you listening to?
Why are you listening to them?
What are they saying? 
Does what they want from life match with the core values of your own life?
From what type of values are the words they speak being spoken from?

In 1998 I made a decision to start working with someone, to be their financial advisor. We got on well, shared some common ideas for business but in hindsight it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Different ambitions. 
Different core values. 
Different intentions of the heart. 

The outcome wasn’t pretty. I took a hard hit. Lost my job. No income. I found myself having to start my own business from scratch. It was a lesson well learned.

All relationships can feel good and right. They can even be productive but that doesn’t mean you should pursue them, invest energy in them and build something with those people.

Right relationships with the right people at the right time should eventually bring the right results. In contrast, even the very best relationship with the wrong person even at the right time will not produce the right kind of results. It may seem right in our own eyes but maybe not in Gods.

The basis of any good relationship is the values that you share. From that foundation will come the intentions of the heart. If those values differ from your own then you could find yourself compromising your own values for someone else’s. Take it from me, it’s easy done, after all, they are probably not evil but perhaps not what God intended for you.

When I read in Genesis about Abraham I read about someone who chose to make his relationship with God the most significant one. Out of this pivotal relationship would flow all other relationships, all other decisions, all other outcomes. This was a covenant relationship and it  would become the filter by which Abraham dealt with all that might come his way.

When you observe Abraham’s life you see that to bring strength to this relationship with God it had to survive certain tests…

The Divine Test
The Sacrifice Test
The Test of Time

What do you think these tests may represent?

Fresh Year, Fresh Ideas, Fresh Goals [2]

There are other areas that could always do with a fresh look, a new sense of determination, a purposeful shake up to create movement in the right direction, to encourage growth and to see the right kind of fruit being produced.

Getting the right relationships with the right people. Those who can add value to me and to whom I can add value. As a Pastor there are certain individuals that I feel I MUST develop good relationships with, learning about them, understanding them, giving them time to catch my heart for Darlington and for the power of synergy to kick in.

When it comes to relationships some of my goals include…
1. Have regular time with Kerina – make dates with each other, chase her again. Our marriage is important to me. As a value I must take responsibility for making sure we spend time together, yes talking about Church stuff but not just that. We need to have some fun time too. It all makes for healthy marriage, which makes for happy kids, which makes for a peaceful home.
2. Spending time with my 3 girls. Helping them do life well, teaching them about God. Identifying some stuff that we can do together – need to talk to them about that. It’s not just about what I want to do but also what they want to do.
3. Building & nurturing friendships with key people – particularly with Xcel Darlington in mind. There is a mix of people here – those I need to be sharing my heart with more regularly, those I need to be investing in, some to be accountable to. Part of this is meeting with them, sharing ideas together, enjoying the Xcel Darlington journey much more closely.

All relationships end up somewhere. If you are not careful they can end up somewhere and then you are left wondering how did they get there. I am determined to not let that happen.

What will you be doing in 2009 to make the most of your key relationships?