Sharpening the Axe
The best leaders are intentional in making time for their team to take part in continuing education, for both professional and personal growth. Leaders are charged with helping people develop, and two of the critical components of that are regular training and integrated on-the-job learning.
“If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” -Ecclesiastes 10:10
Our company has a long history of investing in our teams by sending our employees to conferences and training events.
Here are some less obvious goals behind company-paid trips, besides job-specific training:
- Helping people get a wider view of our industry
- Team building
- Generosity and treating employees
A Betenbough Homes team member, Henry, experienced a “sharpening the axe” moment first-hand, from his leader at the time, Cal Zant. Henry shared with Cal that one of his goals after receiving his MBA was to teach college classes part-time. The catch? Henry had a hard time with public speaking. Cal talked with Henry about how he’d have to get past his struggles with public speaking before he could ever stand up in front of a classroom full of college students and teach. That conversation with Henry spurred Cal on to get Henry public speaking training. Cal sent Henry to a Dale Carnegie training where he was able to learn how to be a more clear communicator and develop confidence in public speaking. Henry noted that the classes got him out of his comfort zone, and he even had a lot of fun while doing it. When asked why Cal put in the time to find training to help Henry with something that may possibly even take him away from the company, Cal said, “I did it for his own benefit because I care about him. He wants to teach college classes one day and maybe this will help him reach that goal.”
In this example, a leader chose to grow his team member for that team member’s benefit. Helping your people develop not only shows you are interested in their success but that you truly care about their passions and want to champion them.
Sharpening the axe isn’t just for employees. The charge for continual growth starts with the leader.
People never drift into being great leaders. Leaders have a responsibility to be pervasive learners who are constantly growing. The secret to mastery in any field is to forever be a student. This is especially true of leadership. Even the wisest and most experienced leader still has a lot to learn.
What “axe” do you need to sharpen? Perhaps it’s someone on your team you could help grow for their own benefit? What are some things you can do to grow and develop your leadership skills? Perhaps you will learn through a book, podcast, TEDTalk, training event, or might we suggest our 3-day Kingdom Leadership Workshop? Take some time to think through these questions, and be bold in taking the first step in answering this call.