You can be a leader or you can develop others. Which should you do? The answer is “both.”
A leader must lead while also developing others. In this post I explain that there are (at least) four reasons leaders must develop others.
Photo Credit: BibleVector
I believe there are four reasons that leaders must develop others.
1. Jesus Developed Others
The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are each filled with stories about Jesus developing His 12 disciples. Jesus sent those disciples out and He developed them. He taught them and then released them to attempt ministry on their own.
Jesus had a five step process for developing His disciples:
- He called them to Him (Luke 5:10-11, 27-28).
- He allowed them to watch Him teach and do miracles.
- He taught them (often revealing the meanings of His parables to the disciples in private) (Mark 4:34).
- He sent His disciples out to do miracles (Luke 9:1-6).
- He taught the disciples more.
Jesus’ ministry was marked by His investment to develop and grow His disciples. He knew that based on those men His church would be started and be led.
2. You Will Not Live Forever
With the possible exception of Enoch, Elijah, and of course God, no one lives forever. Therefore, a leader must always be looking to develop the next generation of leaders.
Simply acknowledging that a leader is not going live forever is the first step to starting to develop leaders. And, when the leader affirms to others that he realizes he will not live forever and that he needs to develop other leaders for the future, that gives others an opportunity to step up for leadership. This is because people will step up to show they are interested in leading in the future when they know that a leadership opportunity will be available in the future.
From a biblical point of view, Jesus knew that He would not live on the earth forever. This meant that He invested into the 12 disciples as discussed above because He knew that on them His church would be built. And, as we see in Scripture, other leaders of the early church such as Paul and James saw younger leaders as the new leaders of the church.
Paul shows this when writing to Timothy,
I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace. I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you (Titus 1:4-5, NLT).
The focus of Paul investing in the church’s next generation of leaders is also shown in his two letters to Timothy,
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you (1 Timothy 4:14-16).
Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again (2 Timothy 1:3-4).
3. People Are Capable of More
Human beings have immense talent; often they have much more talent than we (as leaders) believe they have. This is why a leader must develop others: to fulfill their talent.
One thing for sure is that if you have a good leader who you do not develop well, he will move to another organization where he will be developed and grown.
Leaders love progress. They love to improve and change things for the better and that also applies to themselves as leaders. To keep leaders you must develop them and grow them.
The enjoyment of knowing that people are capable of more and that you can help them grow is based on the fact that growth can occur in many different scenarios. For example here is a quick list of the different ways that a leader can empower/allow another leader to grow:
- Performance Reviews/evaluations
- College Classes
That’s a quick list. The fact is that people are often capable of doing more work and having more responsibility than we give them credit for.
4. It Will Serve Your Mission
Having a pool of young developing leaders who are competent and capable serves your mission. Whatever your organization sets out to do will be done better when your organization has a group of young leaders being developed and groomed. And, when the senior leader decides to retire or moves on a leader is ready to step into that role.
Question: What are the other reasons you believe that leaders must grow others?