In order to multiply the influence God has given you the most important area you can focus on is developing leaders around you. Here are 7 simple thoughts on how you can do that effectively.
1) Identify Who You Need To Develop
Time is short. All of us are limited in the amount of time we have to invest in others. Your life stage, job and other circumstances will determine just how much time you have to give. You must set realistic expectations on yourself when it comes to the amount of time you can pour into others.
You cannot develop everyone.
Most of us try to work with too many people at once. I love people and I have many friends and a long list of people in whom I would love to invest my time and energy. However, if I give all the people I want to invest in a little bit of my time then I am really helping no one. In order to have the greatest impact make a short list of those people that you have the greatest ability to impact.
Spend your most focused time on your most valuable leaders.
I read somewhere that you become like the 5 people closest to you. I am sure there is some great truth in that statement. To begin developing leaders make a short list. Take a few minutes and see if you can get a list down to 10 or fewer people whom you need to be investing in. Here are some questions that will help you make your list.
Who MUST I invest in? At the top of your list should be your family. There are many who can replace you at work or in the church setting but to your wife and children you are irreplaceable.
Who must I develop at work or in my ministry?
Who is teachable? Do not waste time on people who do not want your investment.
Who is available? There may be some top-level leaders who you may want to have on your team and invest in but they are maxed out and therefore unavalible.
Do they need my help? Don’t try to develop people that should be developing you. Learn from them.
2) Be Someone That Other People Can Follow
It a glorious waste of time for you to try to lead in a direction where you have not yet gone or are not pushing yourself to go. No one wants to follow someone else who is a hypocrite or someone who does not practice what he or she preaches. The best teachers model the behavior that they desire to see in others. First live it then lead it.
3) Spend Time With The People You Wish To Develop
Helping in the development of another leader is not something that will happen overnight. You cannot simply take your leaders to a good conference on leadership and expect them to be different people. Conferences are great for getting new ideas and for motivating people but usually do not create long-term change. Helping someone else become all that God has called him or her to be will take your most precious asset, your time. Those that you desire to develop must be people that you spend time with every week. If you are not having success in helping others grow it may be that you are not giving them enough of yourself. How much time are you spending with the people you are trying to help? You can plant a great garden but if you do not give it attention then weeds will choke it out and bugs will eat the fruit. The same is true when investing in other. Time and attention are required to maintain health.
4) Listen…And Then Listen Some More
You cannot develop someone until you know him or her. In order to help someone you must find out where they are?
What are the things that are keeping him or her from being a better leader?
What are the areas of their life that need development?
To help people you must hear them, really hear them. You can never learn anything new when you are talking. You need to find out what they are most passionate about.
How are they gifted?
Where are they weak?
Where do they want to go?
What do they want to accomplish?
Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood. You will never lead someone where they do not want to go. You may drag them but you will not lead them. The idea is not to get someone to go where you want them to go but to help them become who God wants them to become as a leader. Don’t make the focus about your objectives but about their development.
5) Help Them Come Up With Clear Goals
If you do not know where you are going you will have a hard time every getting there. Help the person you are developing establish what the end result is. In my line of work we talk about helping others establish a “win.” A win is a clear standard of measure that helps everyone know if they are being successful or not. You can call them goals, wins, or whatever you want but you must define them. Over the last few years I have found that in most cases it is better to establish wins in the area of what we can control and not what we cannot control. We measure in the sowing and not the reaping. Help others define clear measures of victory in what they can control.
6) Give Them One Step
I think as leaders we often overwhelm people with 27 things that they must do to be a success. Start with one step. Give the person you are developing one clear action step to take and then meet with them and hold them accountable to that step. Keep going back to step one until it is completed. Tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it. Watch them while they do it.
7) Hold Them Accountable
The older I get the more important I believe accountability is. We all perform better when someone is watching us and someone is following up with our progress. You will never develop leaders past what you are willing to hold them accountable for. I know many great speakers that can tell people what they need to do but never truly develop them because they do not follow up. The fortune is in the follow up. John Maxwell says that you cannot expect what you don’t inspect.
Have you taken time to follow up with leaders you are developing with accountability?
The lid on your leadership may be your lack of follow up.