I hated group projects in college. Being the grade conscious control freak I sometimes was, I often ended up doing extra work outside of my assigned area to cover for that one guy who just sluffed it off. It was like they just didn’t care about the grades. And just like that, my inner Hermione Granger comes to the surface.
I think the group projects were learning experiences about group dynamics and less about the topic. I should’ve learned leadership skills better and maybe not have been so grade freakish. Because, I have discovered these type of people can be found in the workplace, in church ministries, in society, well, in all areas of our life – there will be people who just don’t desire to help share the load.
So far in Nehemiah 3, we have looked at 4 types of people found in this important endeavor of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem …
- Leadership is setting the example
- Some people worked in areas outside their area of skills
- Some people are willing to work in unappealing areas (the dirty jobs)
- Some people are willing to work harder than others
But we also see another type of people in this group projects …
Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.Neh 3.5
This is not a rant about freeloaders or those who feel entitled, I’ll let others go down that rabbit hole. This is simply a reminder that there will almost always be people who don’t support our endeavors, who don’t buy into the vision, who share no interest in helping, or who might even fight what we are trying to do.
Group #5 … there will almost always be some people who don’t support our endeavorsMe
We are not told why the nobles didn’t get on board. Was it about power (we don’t want others to gain independence), influence (who does he think he is coming here, starting new projects, taking away from our past work), economic issues, indifference (I just don’t care about others), or what? Did Nehemiah blow it when he shared his vision? Could he have used better leadership skills to get the nobles on board?
Since the text doesn’t tell us why, let me share a key component on how we can attract others to our vision. John Maxwell shares some various strategies, but only one is the proper place to start.
Some start with communicating the vision. They give details, lay it out, almost class room style. This sharing the information is vital, and some want all the details up front. But still, this isn’t the most effective starting place. Some attempt to convince through emotional appeal. They use motivational techniques to rally the troops. The problem here is the emotional level often needs to be progressively growing to keep their interest. It just isn’t sustainable.
The key strategy … connect with them personally. Maxwell quotes Abe Lincoln saying, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” People stick with the vision when they buy into the leader.
So, back to the college study groups and group projects … maybe if I spent more time connecting personally, I wouldn’t have to have spent so much time covering for others. It’s not too late, I can do this today too!