Want to Be a People Developer? Look for Their Beach Ball

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“If a leader is going to develop people, you have to learn about their beach ball.”

That was a bit of leadership coaching I received years ago from a trusted mentor, and today, more than ever, I believe this is a critical piece in the arsenal of every leader.

The beach ball analogy is fairly well-known. It speaks of a person’s core strengths, gifts, tendencies and passions.

A person on your team may be in a role in which their “beach ball” is submerged, but if you pay attention you’ll see it pop up above the surface of the water. It just can’t be helped.

MosesThe job of the leader is to be on the look-out for the beach balls which pop up among the members of the team, then to steer the development of that person in a direction which will allow those strengths and passions to be fully leveraged.

Case in point; look at the life of Moses. Moses’ beach ball was to free the oppressed. He couldn’t help himself. Try as he might to keep that beach ball submerged, it just kept popping up.

While he was still Prince of Egypt, Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. Something inside Moses snapped, and he killed the oppressor. His beach ball had just surfaced. (Exodus 2: 11-12)

Later at the well of Midian he witnessed a group of shepherds harassing the daughters of Reuel. And again Moses’ beach ball popped up causing him to come to their rescue. He couldn’t avoid it. (Exodus 2: 16-17) Moses was “wired” to free the oppressed.

No wonder God nominated him to free His people. Freeing the oppressed was already in Moses’ “DNA”. That was his beach ball.

Look at your team. If you are committed to developing them to their fullest potential, here are three questions you need to ask:

  • What core strengths, gifts and tendencies keep popping up?
  • What would happen if we could leverage more of that strength?
  • What would it take to make that happen?

But by paying attention to Moses’ beach ball, God delivered a nation.

Just think what He could do in your organization.

How do you identify and develop the beach balls that pop up among your own team?

the author

Scott Cochrane

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