Testing Your Leadership Power

Testing Your Leadership Power


I think I was wrong last week when I called Fr. Mark’s wonderfully crazy move an act of trust.  If you missed last week’s RFL, I told how our pastor at St. Augustine’s in Oakland, California flipped the service – and all cautious rationality – on its head by randomly distributing money at the collection time instead of collecting our random gifts.  He  told us that we as a parish were going to raise $65,000 to build a home for children orphaned by the scourge of AIDS in a village in Kenya.  And he said that if he gave us money – as in the parable of the Talents – he thought we would multiply that money.  My son Jack got $20 and I got an envelope with $100.  So, why was that not trust?

Well, it was.  Some of that money probably just walked away last week.  I imagine Fr. Mark “trusted” that would happen; human nature is what it is.  And he “trusted” that some people would at least return on Easter Sunday what they had received.  But it was not trust but BELIEF – over and above trust – which caused him to think that people would actually bring back more money.  Sure enough, yesterday he said one man called him a couple hours after Mass to say had already doubled the money he’d received; and a group of about five women who are just joining the church raised $824 last week in a garage sale.

So, I think it’s cool to trust your employees or your kids or even your spouse, but to believe in them is an altogether greater matter.  All week I’ve been thinking (and I’m doing this):  what if you gave your employees $250 and said, “make us better with this.”  Well, could you do it in the first place?  Could you move beyond trust to belief?  To me trust says, “I know you won’t let me down.”  Belief says, “I know you will do great things.”

What might someone do with $250? Buy a phone headset to serve customers better. Give a frustrated customer a break. Give their $250 or pool it with others to help someone in the office who is struggling to make ends meet.  Give the receptionist flowers for the next 6 months.  Buy a printer to replace the one that’s driving everyone crazy. Spend it on a software program that will let them do better design. Host a small reception for a customer, a 10-year employee anniversary, or a mom or dad returning to work after having a baby.  Send Starbucks cards to customers or staff who’ve been great to work with.  By the way, in the world of Everyday Leadership, you don’t have to ask for the “leaders” of the company to do this; you can lead, yes with your own money :-).

I’ll keep you posted on the results of Fr. Mark’s belief in us.  A few people asked me how they could help with the Kenya orphanage; here’s a link.  And I would love to hear from anyone who takes my belief in them seriously – at the very least to think about it, perhaps customize a gift of belief, and especially to try it.  It would be fun for us to share the results with each other on such an experiment in

Leading with your best believing self!