You made it. You can see the finish line and you're almost there. Every team member you have is ready for the finish. They've been working hard so they are depleted as well.
It's tempting to cruise to the finish of the big project, or the finish of a mission trip, or finish of a business quarter. Everyone is going to get to the finish, celebrate for a minute or two, and then go to the next thing. But I can still hear all the coaches I had in life saying, "Finish Strong!"
What does that mean? Finish strong? What does it mean to you as a leader?
I think the finish line is divider of all people. There are those who run to a finish line and then there are those who run through a finish line. What's the difference? Well, watch this race and notice the difference between everyone else running this race and the last place finisher?
See video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By1JQFxfLMM
Cruising to a finish is a lot like giving up. And we might not be the one leading our team to a world record ( Or the biggest numbers, or the biggest sale, or the most growth...fill in your own blank here) but what speaks the most to our team is rather we ask them to run through the line or to the line.
So as a leader what does it look like to lead your team through the line?
For me, finishing strong on a season looks like the following:
1. Reflection - At the end of the season we are always going to reflect on the journey. In my case, leading people in ministry I ask the question, "What have we seen God do through us?" For you the question might be, "What are we proud of?" Or, "How have we seen people's lives change because of what we've done?" We want people to sign up for the next adventure and if we don't celebrate what has been accomplished people are less likely to sign back up because the work didn't matter in the first place.
2. Honor team members - We have quit before the finish line if we don't give our team the chance to say to one another, "I saw YOU do this and it was awesome." Check out some of the numbers in this PRNewswire.com article but this is eye catching -
83% of employees said recognition for contributions is more fulfilling than any rewards and gifts.
THAT'S HUGE! As a leader you HAVE TO provide space for your team to recognize each other for solo accomplishments!
3. Say thank you - The best leader to be around is a grateful leader. And there are times where your team might not hit every goal but you better say thank you for their effort. A leader that lacks the ability to say thank you will find themselves crossing the finish line and discover no one else was running with them. And as a leader I think it's a good practice to say this to as many people as possible near the finish line, not just the people who have been on your team but to the people who support you every day. It might be your spouse, your friends, your family, you pastor, your counselor, your barista, whoever! If they have served you or your team in the process they deserve a THANK YOU.
For me, this is what it looks like to finish through the line and not at the line. I see the way it immediately puts back energy into the team. I see the way it recasts a vision of why we do what we do. I see how it helps some folks step off the team and how it helps others commit to another season.
So what about you? What do you do to finish through the line and not at the line? Please leave a comment below your experience!