In our last blog I challenged each of us as leaders “to ‘equip’ the troops so that together we can accomplish His [God’s] vision.”

So, what does equipping look like?

Sometimes we as leaders equip others based on the following “proverb”: You teach what you know. You reproduce who you are.

Great! Just what the world needs… a lot more Greg Wallaces!

Or not.

To be fair, the quote is another way of saying that our actions have greater impact than our words, but it does capture another truth—we can easily be tempted to equip people by sharing from our wealth of knowledge, our strengths and our experiences. This process can lead to a reproducing of ourselves in others—which may or may not empower people in their uniqueness.

Another way to equip people is to leverage their knowledge, their strengths and their experiences. This helps future leaders to lead from the best of what God has given them. To contribute to this process, we as leaders should realize we are like hardware stores.

Like hardware stores, when people seek us out for equipping, they do so with a desire to acquire a specific tool (“I need a hammer/conflict resolution skills”) or to remedy a specific problem (“I need to fix a leak/learn how to manage up”).

And like hardware stores, we are more effective as equippers when we provide the specific tool requested of us and provide the remedy that addresses whatever need they presented. In other words, as we equip people to do what we do, the best way to go about it is not to teach people to do what we do the way we would do it, but to equip them to do what we do by giving them what they need so that they can do what we do in a way that leverages the best of who God has made them to be.

[The non-tongue-twister translation: The best way to equip people to do what we do is to focus on what they need rather than focus on what we desire to give them.]

This means the equipping process is less about the equippers (us) and more about the equippees (the people). More about that next time.

Greg Wallace is the Chief Operating Officer for HRock Church in Pasadena, Calif. He loves teaching and helping others pursue their life’s passion. He is passionate about developing leaders, building organizations and helping people and groups thrive in the midst of change.