Great leaders intuitively know they are responsible for future leadership, and all leaders have heard these catch phrases: “There is no success without succession” and “Work yourself out of a job and you will always have a job.” Yet few leaders plan and prioritize developing others. There is always something else to do, always an email inbox pulling leaders away from the importance of development. So instead, leaders can offer excuses rather than take the task of development seriously. Three common and very bad excuses are:
1. Those I develop may leave.
There is a fear that if you develop someone for leadership, that person will long to be deployed somewhere else, that there may not be a spot in your organization for the developed leader. In response to “If we develop our people, they may leave,” someone quipped, “If we do not develop our people, they may stay.” Much better to deploy people you have developed than to labor alongside indefinitely those who have not been developed. A group of stagnant people, people who are not growing and learning, is a miserable team to be a part of.
2. Things are so busy.
Yes. Yes, they are busy. And they will not be less busy in 18 months. But 18 months from now, you could have better leaders on your team carrying the burden with you IF you would develop them now. Developing others takes time, but it will take less time if you start now instead of six months from now.
3. It is not on my job description.
Sadly, though it should be, developing others may not be on your job description. But all the functions on your job description would be better fulfilled if you raised up other leaders. Developing others widens the influence of the ministry or organization. Developing others equips more people for the important work that is being accomplished.
These are really bad excuses. Don’t use them.