Leadership development

The best way to add leaders

What difference would it make in what you are trying to accomplish to have an additional, talented leader on the team? I would guess you would say, “It could only help! Send them my way!” Well, not so fast. Talented, contributing team members, do not typically just arrive on our doorstep. We all want fully-formed, mature people to join. They usually don’t come that way. The best way for you to add leaders to your team is to develop them.

What is your game plan?

What is your game plan for developing those around you? I have observed that most leaders are reluctant to spend their time and resources on developing leaders. I see three reasons for this.

  1. Producing, not reproducing
  2. Valuing things over people
  3. Fear

Who is a leader?

To be clear, I am speaking of developing leaders, not growing followers. A leader is someone who takes initiative for the benefit of others. A follower is a participant, but is not an initiator. A leader is willing to take on a level of responsibility and ownership that a follower is not required to carry.

A producer mindset

The first reason development does not happen is most leaders are content to be thought of as a producer. We get stuff done. Granted, there are certain things we must get done. We have to show results. But I would submit our main calling is not to produce. We should only be satisfied once we have become reproducers.

Intentional reproducing

When all our time is spent producing, there is no time left for developing others. Organizations do not drift into being an environment that develops people. If development is to happen it must be done with intentionality. If you are driven, however, by a need to show what you can get done, you will never have time to reproduce other leaders.

Our main job

This idea of reproducing is of vital importance to those of us leading in the church. Our main job description is developing people! You have been given to the church in order to equip others to serve (Ephesians 4:12). As I’m sure you know, this idea of equipping is about making a person complete. Our main job is to help others be who they are meant to be, so they can do what they are meant to do.

Investing in tools

The second reason development does not happen is we are reluctant to give the proper resources to it. We are happy to invest in systems, programs, buildings, and equipment. I can hear people say, “We need the right tools to do ministry.” But none of these matter without leaders using them. Another argument I can hear people say is “People leave, but resources stay.” What would you rather have: to not train them and have them stay; or to give them all the training you can and maybe they leave?

People appreciate, tools don’t

We should always prioritize investing in people over resources. People are the only assets that can continually appreciate. Systems become dated, buildings deteriorate, machinery wears down, and programs run their course. But a person can grow and grow and grow if another leader is intentional about that person’s development.

To illustrate:

Consider the way we view spending money on technology versus people. Most of us will gladly drop a thousand dollars on a computer that we know will be obsolete in a few years. But we hesitate to spend a hundred dollars to send someone to a conference or ten dollars on a book, that will further develop that person. The value we add to people, only appreciates, unlike the so-called investment made in office equipment.

We are scared

The third reason the development of leaders is not happening is fear. Some leaders are scared to develop other leaders. There are many factors why this is so. Tying into the reasons above, it is safer to produce and develop tools. It is safer to simply continue to do what you can do and spend money on hard assets. There is a sense of control maintaining your own work and acquiring things, the tools of ministry. The only problem is it is not what we are called to do. We are to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).

Leaders multiply the work

If you aren’t developing leaders, at best, you are only gathering followers. I say at best, because many people aren’t content to remain followers, so they will leave to look for someone who will develop them. Scared leaders drastically minimize what can be accomplished. You want others on your team who are taking initiative for the benefit of others. That is what leaders to. Followers are focused on benefiting themselves. Far less gets done with a group of followers.

Get a game plan for developing leaders

If you aren’t going to develop leaders, why would God bring you leaders in the first place? God wants people to grow, so he puts them where they will be developed. If you are bemoaning your lack of talented leaders, perhaps it is a result of your own lack of intentionality to develop leaders. Get a game plan in place and ask God to entrust you with leaders.

Next week:

Next week I will talk about how to start developing other leaders.

Question to consider:

Who are you intentionally developing around you?

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