I remember the talk clearly. Michael Slater was speaking in our university chapel, and he used Mark 2 as his scripture. You can read the story, but it’s the story of some friends that carried their friend to Jesus to be healed, but they couldn’t get into the house, so they cut a hole in the roof and lowered their friend before Jesus. Jesus healed the man and everyone was amazed.
I had heard the story before, and the story speaks to Jesus’ power to heal, speaks to his challenging the leaders of the day, and speaks to his compassion.
As Michael Slater spoke that day, he asked a simple question, one that I still remember:
“If you were laying on a stretcher, wounded physically or emotionally, do you have 4 friends that would carry you to get help?”
I remember thinking about 4 people who I could call to carry my stretcher, or 4 people who would naturally come to my aid.
He then asked: “Now, who’s stretcher will you carry? Name the people.”
I did that too. It wasn’t just about what others would do for me, but about who I could serve and help.
The talk had a profound impact on my life as I have continually identified the people who would carry me if I needed them, and the people I would carry if they needed help.
Over the years, I’ve been carried by these friends, and I’ve had the opportunity to carry them.
The message here is ENCOURAGEMENT. The message here is HOPE. The message here is FRIENDSHIP.
One of my roles as a leader is to communicate to those that I lead or work with that they have value and that our relationship goes far beyond our “work roles”. I’m constantly trying to find ways to communicate that to the people I work with, and find ways to model that.
Here are 4 ways that you can encourage those you get the privilege of leading:
#1) KNOW THEM
I know you “know them”. I encourage you to “KNOW THEM”. Listen to their story, know their spouse and children’s names, understand their passion and purpose. Take the time to listen.
People like to be HEARD.
#2) GO OUT OF YOUR WAY
Take notice of what’s going on, and go out of your way to communicate your care, your support and your friendship. An example might be you support a cause that is important to them or you show up to celebrate with them something significant.
People like to be VALUED.
Look for creative ways to communicate with them how you feel about them. Send them a note, get them a gift card, spring for a latte. Little things make a big impact.
People like to be AFFIRMED.
#4) CARE FOR THEM
When there’s a crisis, be the first to respond. This means you’re aware of when crisis comes, but be ready. Provide a meal, stay late to help with a project, help them find a solution, do whatever you can do to help. Basically, help to “carry them” when they need it. Be one of their “stretcher bearers”.
People like to be SERVED.
We all need to learn to encourage others as we carry their stretchers in times of need and as we’re carried ourselves.
Are you a Stretcher Bearer?
To get Michael Slaters book, CLICK HERE
For more on being a CHEERLEADER