One of the hardest things for a leader to do is to ask for help. Too many new leaders see this asking for help as a sign of weakness.
As you step into the role of a leader, you have to know how to assemble a support system.
What A Healthy Support System Looks Like
We’ve been lied to. We’ve been fed the lie leadership is a lonely battle.
Well, that’s true but only if we let leadership be lonely.
You have a choice. You can cultivate a healthy support system and be an effective leader. To do so, you have to surround yourself with people who will hold you up when you are weak.
But what do this healthy support system look like? I’ve found my support system looks like this:
A healthy support system contains people who are wiser than you. They’ve sought out the wisdom you hope to obtain and they’re willing to share it with you.
Look for people who are 2 to 3 steps ahead of you. Most likely these people will be in your own field.
A few of my wise sages have been my former youth pastor Rick South, blogger Michael Hyatt, and writer Dan Miller.
I’ve been able to pick their minds, share parts of my story with them, and learn from what they’ve willingly shared.
Brothers In Arms:
These are my GO-TO men. They’re there to lift me up and hold me accountable.
Your brothers in arms will have your back. They’ll also kick your backside when you’re doing something stupid.
You trust these men with your life. And your life’s secrets.
You need to be open with them because they’re there to call you out when you’re getting off of the path.
My brothers in arms have been Jeff Eikenberry, Nick Page, Rick South (your sages can also be brothers in arms), and others.
Allow others to hold you accountable. Let them help you stay on the straight and narrow path.
There’s something powerful when you have people praying for you. God moves and mountains are cast aside.
Seek out people who are willing to pray for you. Whether that’s on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Having people in your corner who are rooting for you and petitioning the Lord above is an important aspect of a healthy support team.
My wife, Pete Benson, and other close friends are my prayer warriors.
You need people appealing to God for you.
How To Assemble A Support System
Now, the rubber meets the road. We have to figure out how to put together a system that will help support you.
Let’s look at each member of your support system:
Wise sages are your mentors and they don’t have to be local. They can be your next door neighbor or live across the country.
Look for someone who’s working in the field you are, who’s achieved a modicum of success, and is willing to share their knowledge.
If it’s someone online, read their blogs and listen to their podcasts. That’s the easiest way to have them in your system. After awhile, you may approach them and see if they’d be willing to take their mentoring to the next level. Don’t be afraid to approach them. The worst they can say is no.
If it’s someone in the same city as you, ask them out to lunch or coffee. Let them know you’re looking for someone to pour into your life and you believe they have the wisdom to do so.
Brothers In Arms:
We all have friends. Not all of us are blessed with many close friends.
Your brothers in arms are your close friends. The ones who know you the best.
They also want the best for you. And they’re not willing to cover up the truth to make you feel better. These brothers are willing to wound.
Look at your circle of friends. Decide who holds the same values as you.
These values include family relationships, faith, business ethics, etc… They’re going to hold fairly similar values to you and that’s what you want.
You want someone who’s willing to speak up and challenge you when you’re wrong. You want someone who’s going to tell you to man up and do what’s right, not what you feel like doing.
I believe this is the easiest part of a support system to assemble. If you’re in a healthy faith environment, you have people all around you who are praying already.
And, if you ask them, they’ll be willing to pray for you as well.
Ask your wife, ask your pastor, ask men in your church you know. These are going to be the ones who will eagerly begin praying for you.
As you get comfortable making the ask for prayer, you can open up to more support members and ask them to pray for you.
Assembling a healthy support system is key to a successful career as a leader.
You need men who are going to pour into you new knowledge. You need men who are going to call you out when you’re being stupid. And you need people praying for you.