Leadership, coaching, teaching and mentoring all have the goal of helping people move from where they are to where they want or need to be. When it’s effective all of our work with people involves building and cultivating relationships. I thought of this last week as I read Steve Saccone’s book Relational Intelligence.
For example, in a chapter titled “The Disproportionate Investor,” Saccone argues that Jesus had a four part strategy for working closely with the disciples. He prayed about the people he would invest in, selected them carefully, spent a lot of time teaching, and then entrusted them with important leadership responsibilities. At the core of this process was careful and strategic thinking about selecting those with whom we would work. Some people are like “purses with holes.” They take our investments in them, but they don’t retain much. They rarely grow and aren’t inclined to invest in other people. Saccone calls them consumers who “devour every ounce of relational and emotional energy for themselves, draining it right out of” those who give it. Much different and better according to the book are the investors. Often they are eager learners who look for ways to apply their new insights and skills to new situations. In the process they energize others, including the men and women who lead, coach and teach them. Saccone urges us to invest in those who have potential and the determination to pass on their learning to others.
Probably most of us spend time investing in other people. We want to make wise choices and focus our efforts on those who have the greatest potential to grow and give a good return on our investment. But why did Jesus select Judas? Haven’t we all had experiences of mentoring unlikely candidates and watching them respond? Sometimes they do waste our time, but others blossom to the surprise of everyone. I prefer working with people who have obvious potential but sometimes I sense God leading me to those who are most often overlooked.
How do you select the people you invest in? Please share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment.