Lay Your Cards on the Table
Recently, I have been spending time with my mother-in-law and other family members learning to play bridge. The first night there were four of us playing with my mother-in-law roaming around to help. She explained how a spade was higher than a heart which is higher than a diamond which is higher than a club. I didn’t really get that at first, but I went with it and later in the game learned why it was important to know. She told us how to count up our points and how many points we needed in our hand to bid. My husband, who was my partner, was the first to bid and he bid one spade. I liked this bid because I had a decent hand in spades and several good cards in other suits. The next person passed. I consulted with my mother-in-law and she indicated I should bid two spades. The next person passed so we stayed with two spades. I was excited because I was going to get to play out my two spades bid. Not so fast. I learned that I am actually the “dummy” and my husband gets to play the hand because he bid spades first. Since I have a difficult time handing over control to someone else, I was feeling a little uncomfortable. We started playing the hand, which meant I had to sit and watch my husband play my cards. He wasn’t playing like I would have and I was squirming a little. In the end, we did not get our bid. After some discussion about what happened and some guidance from my mother-in-law we started the next hand. Later in the game my husband and I were given the same opportunity as before, but with hearts. This time, I laid my cards down, trusted him and we made our bid.
As leaders, we often need to lay our cards on the table and let someone on our team play the hand. This may be difficult for some of us to do. It is important that we give that team member clear direction, communicate our expectations or desired outcome for the project, convey our confidence in them, and trust him or her to make the right decisions to succeed. (Depending on the size and nature of the project, praying might be a good idea too.) They may not work through the project exactly like you or I would, but if that person obtains the desired outcome, it’s a success. You may even discover that his or her approach was better than yours. If he or she isn’t successful, then it turns into a learning opportunity. Discuss with that person about his or her process and where he or she may have laid down the wrong card. Your team needs to know it is okay to try something different, even if it doesn’t always work. As leaders, we shouldn’t want our team members to be afraid to try a new approach because they are worried about consequences if it doesn’t work. Mistakes are an opportunity for all of us to learn and grow.
Manager, Ministry Support