In my experience of leading teams both in and outside of the church, developing new leaders is often the most difficult task. There are a few reasons for this. The first is because I, as the primary leader, is often in the way. I enjoy my work, getting things done, and at times struggle with passing off my hard work to someone else. I have needed to die to self in this area and learn to trust, delegate and bring others along. The second reason that developing new leaders is a difficult task is because many young leaders don’t self-realize their leadership potential, therefore appearing to make it a limited pool to select from. Both of these roadblocks can be overcome with an intentional 3-step process.
Step 1: Identify
Recognize that you can’t do everything and your organization will fail to grow if you don’t. Ask yourself, who will make a great fit with our team or organization? Does their personality, habits, strengths and skill set fit with our culture and needs today or in the future? Also ask, who demonstrates signs of leadership capacity? The person who likes to communicate clearly and often, arrives on time and prepared for meetings, is organized in their work and personal life, and is respected by most (if not all) when speaking are all signs of someone who has leadership capacity and potential. Once that person is identified, spend time in prayer asking the Lord to confirm this to you. Don’t be too quick to jump to step 2 without taking it to prayer for additional insight and wisdom.
Step 2: Invite
Most new leaders need a personal call and invitation. Often those with leadership capacity need their leadership potential to be realized by someone else and given an opportunity to spread their wings. This is my story. From as early as elementary school, other people were identifying and realizing my leadership potential before I could even see it in myself. If it wasn’t for the intuitive teachers, professors, pastors, mentors and employers giving me an opportunity to grow my leadership abilities, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Step 3: Integrate
The most important step is the final one, integrating a new leader into your culture or organization. There are two aspects to integrating: training and releasing. Both are critical to the success of a new leader. A true “self-starting” leader is unheard of. If he or she existed, they would already be in your organization doing the job! New leaders will not show every sign of readiness, but they will demonstrate capacity. It’s your job to make them ready. Train your newly appointed leader, and train them well. The primary purpose of training is to integrate them into your organization and culture for maximum success. Then release your leader to do what they will learn to do best – lead! I have found from experience that new leaders are set up for failure when corners are cut in training and are released too quickly. Invest the time into quality training that focuses on culture and organizational procedures. Then release your new leader to spread their wings. The results will be far more fruitful!