5 steps to build people.

lifeI was making a list for a friend the other day. He’s  not sure what direction to take after his current position is done. I listed two or three things and then I started to write, “Build connections.” I crossed it out. I wrote, “Build people.”

I understand that connections are important, that networks lead to opportunities. But I would love my friend to devote the next few months to becoming amazing at building people.

So what should I tell him about how to actually build people (assuming he’s not a Frankenstein)?

  1. Help someone identify what they knew how to do. Many of us don’t know what we do well. We’re too humble. Or we don’t understand that it’s our gifts and skills which make things seem so easy that everyone could do it. Simply and specifically identifying what someone does well can change their direction.
  2. Help someone survive a difficult time. There are times when we need someone to quietly be present. Those moments help us survive with less damage to repair later.
  3. Help someone see opportunities to excel. Opening doors to help us or others, making connections to people we know. Once we know what someone can do, we can help find places to do it.
  4. Help someone have courage. Often we say, “you just do it.” What they need isn’t minimizing the situation, it’s maximising their heart. “Yes, it will be difficult and scary. But I’ve watched you do scary things before. And I’m with you.”
  5. Help someone see a mission beyond this job or task. Jobs come and go, but the big change we are driving toward can sustain us.

These aren’t complicated, so they don’t need much research. They can be done best one-on-one, so you don’t need an audience. But they take doing. And my friend is very capable of doing.

And so are you.


I’ll be answering my friend in more detail at my new project for people in ministry: The guy down the hall. If you think you fit that label, I’d love to have you sign up.