I Can’t Develop Leaders Because I Want the Job Done Right

One of the most crucial roles of a leader is to ensure that the leaders on his team are developing others. This is absolutely essential for the long-term health and vitality of the organization. But one of the challenges to reproducing new leaders is a commitment to doing things right.  We’ve all heard it, “If you want it done right you just have to do it yourself”.  Instead of investing the time and energy it takes to teach others many leaders just do the job themselves.  But we actually hurt our organization when we put excellence above multiplication.

All of us want to see our church or company produce at the highest level possible.  We want to put our best foot forward and be proud of the product we deliver.  So how do we develop leaders while delivering excellence at the same time?  Here are a few tips to balance this tension and eliminate this excuse for not reproducing leaders.

  • Lengthen the developmental process.  We love to rush reproduction.  But developing leaders takes time.  Instead of having a 2 week training process why not a 2 month or even 6 month process?  Allow potential leaders to walk along side and learn from those on your team who lead with excellence. But don’t allow your commitment to excellence nullify your commitment to reproduction.  You can choose not develop anyone and allow your current team to produce excellence totally ignoring the development of future leaders OR you can lay out a longer developmental pathway.  I love Christian Community Church’s approach.  They use an apprenticeship model in every area of ministry to ensure that the leaders are being developed over a long period of time.
  • Define excellence.  How do you quantify excellence?  If excellence is undefined the potential leader will have a difficult time achieving it.  We can’t hit a target we can’t see.  So if excellence is that important in your organization do the hard work of quantifying and describing it so others can see it and achieve it. For example at LAUNCH we desire to see each of our church plant assessors provide high quality assessment.  So recently we created the 10 Gold Standards of an Assessor and created a certification and evaluation process that helps us train them toward this standard.
  • Take a Hard Look at Your Team.  In many cases when excellence is highly valued it’s because there is a superstar that’s delivering the results.  And unfortunately when the superstar leaves so does the level of excellence and no one else in the organization knows how to hit that same target.  Take a hard look at your team to see if your “excellence” is a product of your team or a product of a superstar.  There is nothing wrong with having a superstar, just make sure you utilize that individual as one of your primary trainers.  For the sake of the organization challenge her to train others to do what she does.

So I say, if you’re going to value excellence, value excellence in your development of new leaders.

One Reply to “I Can’t Develop Leaders Because I Want the Job Done Right”

  1. Great post Mac.
    The tension between maintaining excellence and achieving reproduction is a constant. I think it’s the presence of that tension that really spurs on the kinds of leaders we want to reproduce. When what they’re doing is viewed as important and consequential, they’re more likely to take their opportunity to lead with more gravity.
    Hopefully in the mix we’ll remember to include plenty of freedom to fail, reload and take another shot.
    Thanks for the post.

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