Why did I spend eight days this last week traveling the mid-west visiting SpringHill sites? Because of something I learned when I was a volunteer Young Life leader. To do effective “contact work”, that is build relationships with students, you need “to see and to be seen.” I have brought this principle into my leadership at SpringHill and it drives my effort to see as many SpringHill Experiences, staff, campers, parents and supporters as I can especially during the summer season.
“To see” is simply to be in places where I can witness our ministry first hand, to see our work in action. This allows me the ability to see our staff interact with our campers, parents and supporters who visit our sites. “To see” gives me the opportunity to provide real-time feedback to our team as well as share, in real-time, the great things being done across the organization with our staff and supporters. When I speak about SpringHill I can speak from personal experience because I have been there and have seen it.
“To be seen” is all about accessibility to these same groups of people – staff, campers, parents and supporters. By allowing myself “to be seen” I become available. By being available and accessible I’m able to build relationships and through relationships provide support, encouragement and hear necessary feedback first hand. We do our work in the “context of personal, loving and caring relationships” and to be in this context requires me “to be seen.”
And frankly, when you think about it, “to see and to be seen”, is not only an authentic and effective approach to leadership but how we can live our lives as well.