People do not just accidently end up involved in meaningful work. Natural gravitation moves us towards disconnected and uninvolved. Therefore the work of every leader is to create environments and opportunities where people can engage. One of the most common words used for this dynamic is “recruit.”

Not everyone excels at recruiting. Some people get anxiety about the idea of having to recruit. Others are natural recruiters and make it look easy. For most of us recruiting is hard work! Lucky for all of us – recruiting is a skill that anyone can learn.

The skill of recruiting involves 3 basic steps:

  1. Establish a Relationship – You cannot recruit someone you do not know. Knowing them means more than having an awareness of their name. A relationship creates a context for the “ask.” This does not mean you have to spend weeks or months getting to know a person before you can recruit them. Establishing a relationship is something that can happen over a cup of coffee in 30 minutes, or over months of small and simple interactions. Having relational equity allows any “ask” you will make to be equally about them (what they have to offer) and you (what you need).

Recruiting starts by establishing a relationship, but your purpose in the relationship cannot simply be to recruit them. Healthy relationships for a leader are developmental, not transactional. When a relationship is transactional you are done when they say “no”. When a relationship is developmental you are done when development is done. (Click to tweet)

  1. Cast Vision & Connect it to Gifting – Paint a picture of the need, the opportunity or the possibility that sits ahead. Provide a compelling explanation of what you want to see happen. Casting vision helps the person see the opportunity or need that you see. Then connect that vision with the gifting you see within the person. Because you started with relationship you are able to see what skills and gifting they bring to the table.

Show people how their unique gifting can help make the vision happen.

  1. Invite – In the right timing you actually invite the person to get involved. Do not shy away from actually making the “ask.” Out of fear some people can skip this step – hoping people will simply make the leap on their own. Complete the recruiting process by giving a clear invite to join you in the mission.

The purpose of this recruiting process is to help honor the person instead of using him or her. The payoff of this process is a person involved in the mission not because they can fill a hole, but because they are uniquely gifted to make a difference.