It is easy to see other people making this mistake. It is more difficult to catch yourself doing it. I’ve been guilty plenty of times.
Leaders often make this same mistake in various areas of their lives. For example:
– A mother invests all of her emotional energy in a difficult child to the neglect of the quiet, compliant one. The difficult child gets worse and the compliant one begins acting up to get attention;
– A corporate executive spends most of her time helping under-performing salespeople rather than provide leadership and inspiration to her top producers. She then wonders why she can’t keep her best people;
– A pastor expends so much of his time trying to fix broken people that he doesn’t have the energy to develop the leaders who could help shoulder the burden. He constantly grum bles about his workload.
What can you do if you are in this situation? Make sure you are investing your best resources – including your time and energy – in your best people. Here’s how:
1- Acknowledge that your resources are limited.
Your time, money, and energy are finite resources. It’s easy to forget this and overcommit. But it’s a zero-sum game. Every time you say “yes” to one person, you are saying “no” to others.
2- Become aware of where your resources are going.
It’s easy to think the situation is temporary or an exception. But is it? This is the little lie that keeps us stuck if we aren’t careful. Look back over your calendar and make an honest assessment. It will reveal the truth.
3- End unproductive or unhealthy relationships.
This is the hard part. If you can’t end them, then at least establish boundaries. If you need inspiration or moral support, read Henry Cloud’s excellent book, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward.
4- Identify the people you should be investing in.
This is the most important step. Change your focus. Who are the individuals you have overlooked? Who are the people who should be getting the bulk (or at least more) of your resources? Who are the ones who represent the future?
5- Schedule time on your calendar to serve these people.
Good intentions are important, but they are not enough. Like the old adage says, “What gets scheduled gets done.” The opposite is also true, “What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.”
Yes, Jesus spent time with broken people. He healed the sick. He comforted the broken-hearted. He ministered to the outcasts.
But he spent the bulk of his resources on just twelve people. He proactively invested in them, knowing that his mission was, humanly speaking, dependent on their success.
If you have any experience to share with us, be welcome.