For 14 years I served as a Resource Minister for our denomination. That entailed me directly working with 133 churches in my area. I tried to provide whatever assistance they requested. A common complain I often heard was the lack of leadership in the church. Smaller churches frequently complained they just didn’t have younger leaders. I wanted to explain to them that the reason they didn’t have younger leaders was that the older ones had not spent any time developing their younger members, but I didn’t. Instead I tried to help them find ways to provide such development.
Every organization needs to have new people in its leadership pipeline. It is the responsibility of current leaders to develop leadership in those who will follow them. Every leader should be mentoring someone to one day take their place. If you are in middle management, and there is no one who can do what you can do, what are the odds you are going to get promoted any time soon? If promising young people do not see a future in your organization, how long do you think they will stay there? They are going to go somewhere they can be developed and promoted.
In order to develop your future leaders you will have to spend time with them. Understand that not everyone wants to be a leader. Not everyone wants to be promoted. Some are happy where they are, and that’s fine. You want to spend your time with those who do want to develop and go up in your organization. You want to invest as much time in these people as you can. You can provide opportunities to everyone in your organization, but you want to develop the ones who reach out to grab those opportunities.
Some argue that they don’t want to spend time training people because there’s a chance that they will leave the company anyway. That’s always a possibility. But, I remember hearing Zig Ziglar saying, “The only thing worse than training someone and losing them is not training them and keeping them.” There’s a lot of truth in that!
How many people do you have in your leadership pipeline? What are you doing to intentionally train them to be strong leaders? How much time and money are you willing to invest in your future leaders? As we begin a new year these are good questions to be asking.