Winning With People Part 2: Becoming Interested in Others

On Sunday 5th July at our morning service, we continued our series Winning With People with the topic 'The Lift Principle'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group

To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.

At the start of our talk we watched a clip from 'The Pursuit of Happyness' from Wingclips. You can watch this by clicking here.

Talk Summary

I wonder if you have a Christmas party at the place where you work. If you do I wonder if there is a discussion similar to the one that seems to happen every year where I work about the seating plan. Who is going to sit next to who? Do you have people you would really prefer not to sit next to and others you would love to sit next to? 

What is it about some people that seems to lift us up and yet others just seem to drag us down?

One of Jesus’ first followers – a guy called Paul wrote to a church in a place called Thessalonica about how we can and in fact should be encouragers of each other. There are some particularly helpful bits of that letter when it comes to encouragement. You can find them in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verses 9 to 15. You can read them by clicking here

One of the key things to notice is that Christians need to realise that Paul was telling the church here that this isn’t just a nice thing to do, it is actually something we should logically want to do. In verses 9-11 it says “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

The key word is therefore. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. Paul was telling Christians that if we truly believe that God sent his son for us then we should be encouragers of one another, we should be looking to build one another up.

Then in the following verses Paul tells us who we should be encouragers to: those that work hard, those who admonish us, those who are timid and weak. Admittedly not all of those people are easy to see as people we should encourage and build up, particularly those who admonish us as none of us like to be told off.

However when Paul talks about people who admonish us he was referring to people who are telling us things because they care about us. They are telling us that maybe something we are doing isn’t helpful and actually they only want the best for us, He wasn’t talking about those who are constantly on our case, yelling at us and making us feel bullied.

In his book Winning with People John Maxwell outlined a principle he called the elevator principle. I guess we would probably call it the lift principle. He said that what you have to imagine is that we all have a lift and what people say and do can either have a positive effect on us and take us up in our lift, or it can have the opposite effect and take us down in our lift.

He then went on to explain this further by talking about four types of people that we may have in our life. Some who take us up in our lift that we love to be around and others who we find draining that we try to avoid because they take us down in our lift. Just like at the Christmas party!

The first group he talks about are adders. He describes these people as ones who take us up one floor in our lift. These are the kind of people who notice what we do and say thank you. When someone does this it gives us a lift.

But then he talks about a second group who he called mulitpliers. These people have the ability to take us up multiple floors, maybe 10 at a time. Now why is that? Well these people usually are far more intentional about how they encourage us and what they encourage us about. These are the kind of people who make time to write maybe a card to us, and when they do they talk to us about us as a person. Not what we have done, but about our personality about our traits, about us.

If you have ever been the recipient of this kind of encouragement you will know what kind of a lift it gave you!

He also outlined people he called subtractors. These people have the ability to take us down a floor in our lift. Sometimes people can do this simply by not saying thank you, maybe they have taken something you have done for granted, it can take us down a floor if we feel like our work is being ignored.

I think we also quite unintentionally can take people down a floor. You could well be aware of a term “banter”. When people have banter about one another and I have to admit I have some banter with my family and people I work with. Most of the time it is fine but I do have to catch myself at times wondering if I have just crossed that line, and actually what I have said may have taken someone down a floor.

Then last of all he talks about dividers. These are people who can take us down lots of floors at a time, maybe even right down to the basement! Usually this is because they are being intentional and also they are usually telling us something about our personality. That hurts and I know when it has happened to me I have felt very hurt.

So what do we need to do with these ideas? Well I think it leads us to the conclusion that we should be more like the adders and the multipliers that John Maxwell outlined, not just within church but within life in general.

Questions and Reflections (to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)

1. Can you think of experiences in your life where you have been on the receiving end of people who have lifted you or encouraged you? What about times when people have brought you down?

2. Can you think of examples where you have encouraged others?

3. Why do you think Paul was saying that for Christians this is especially important?

4. How easy do you find it to thank people who work hard or who admonish you?

5. How can you be an encourager of the weak or the timid? How can you do that?

6. Where do you need to be more like and adder/multiplier?

7. How can you be a better adder/multiplier?

8. What might be stopping you being an adder/multiplier?


Stephen Nower, 05/07/2015