Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What I Love About...

Niko Gruber

Shear audio volume? No.
Outgoing gregarious nature? No.
Sense of humor? No.
Ability to wrap an office? No.
(Although I am impressed to some degree with all of the above.)

What then? His insatiable quest for feedback.

Last year I got closer to Niko as he sat in as I led the Protege Program. He and I would then spend some one-on-one time together. I struggle for the right word. Iit could be called
Whatever you call it, he just keeps coming back for it.

Recently he was up to teach in our high school ministry. He asked if I would come and listen to his talk and give him feedback.

After the talk, I wasn't looking forward to the feedback session. It wasn't that I hadn't caught him doing some things right, it's just that I also had some harsh feedback to give. Feedback that I knew was going to be contrary to all the "Great job!" comments he'd heard.

I was somewhat surprised when two weeks later he asked me for the same thing: please come listen and provide feedback.

I love this about Niko. After my first feedback session, a lot of people would have decided to seek some reviews from someone who might be less honest and more applauding.

But he said that he appreciates all the kind things people tell him after he gives a talk, but he wants to hear the critical constructive criticism that most people will not provide.

Get this: Niko does not report to me under our organizational structure--yet, he invites me, with all my honesty, to constructively speak into him.

On some accounts I've actually apologized for my potentially ruffling truth-telling. To which he's responded, "No, I appreciate it--I want to hear it!"

I love this about Niko. He's so earnest about what he's doing for the Kingdom that he's laying aside the comfort of polite accolade and insisting that someone like me, speak truthfully into him. He's saying no to the comfort of ego and yes to the potential pain of unbridled coaching.

Let me clearly say, I am honored, humbled and excited to be in his corner--to have access to his life and influence. I love that (and many other things) about Niko. And I am in his corner. I am a fan, a friend, a brother--someone who loves him enough to "stab him in the front" as someone said.

(For the record, I do catch him doing things right as often as I can--and he does numerous things exceedingly well!)

I recently heard Len Sweet say, "I hate accountability partners! What we all need is an editor; someone to poke, push and help us be better. And we all need a best friend."

And all this is very true and very biblical. I love how (unlike so much of our culture) the Bible is multi-generational. I love how Niko and I are multi-generational, yet friends, fellow workers, and a duo that the Holy Spirit is using in both of our lives, to bring His best out of us, for the greater good. I love Niko.

Do you have an editor?
Can you be an editor?

I think all of us can be both.