Because she was only 13 months younger than her brother in their small high school, there were many classes Carmen Halsey attended with him.
“I took the book home to study and he never did, yet he’s the one that always pulled the A,” said Halsey during a breakout session at the Summit. “We live in a culture that tells you practice makes perfect, well I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. That mentality is setting people up to fail. Sometimes we are just not a natural, and all the practice just depletes our energy level and leaves us feeling incompetent.”
Halsey, who serves as IBSA’s director of women’s ministry and missions, as well as Illinois WMU executive director, spoke on how to leverage the strengths of leaders.
First, Halsey said, leaders should have a general knowledge of how God created the brain and understand how their emotions impact them.
“All people experience things emotionally before their reason kicks in, but not all people do this at the same level,” she said. “Understanding the differences of how this works within a team will increase performance and decrease time wasted and drama.”
Halsey said the next step is identifying a person’s natural talents and strengths. “Take inventory. Ask them to take a strengths survey, to describe their dream job, and the sweet spot of their current ministry,” she said. “Watch them. People will naturally nurture their strengths without much thought behind it.”
Once strengths are identified, the leader must be intentional to invest in further developing those strengths.
“We must find ways to cultivate the natural talents in people to make them even stronger,” Halsey said. “We do this in practical ways with our encouragement, and by providing training opportunities. As we come alongside our team, we are confirming their strengths.”
Finally, Halsey said, a church or organization should always position people according to their strengths. “Sometimes out of need we ask someone to sit in a seat that might not be their best position,” she said. “If that’s the case, communicate that it’s temporary. And move them to a better fit as soon as you can. That’s how a person can get from good to great.”