April 21, 2015 Tony Morgan

Surefire Ways to Fail in Developing Leaders

People get stuck at levels of leadership in the church.

Have you seen it? Or worse, have you experienced it?

Ignoring the Leadership Pathway is a surefire way you’ll fail at developing leaders in your church.

All leaders need mentorship to discover their capacity and grow to new levels. People who start out leading 10s may have the capacity to become leaders of 50s. People who lead 100s well may be great leading 1000s, but then again, they may not. It takes leaders who have walked this pathway investing in their teams to help them find out.

There are different competencies required to lead at each of these levels. As a pastor, it’s important to understand them and invest in people with the aim of helping them develop those competencies. Here are some examples of the competencies required at each level of leadership.

Models: Leads 10s
Leads by Example

  • Developing your personal mission and goals
  • Leading from your strengths
  • Practicing personal disciplines
  • Modeling a bias for action
  • Managing your time, including work-life balance

Delegates: Leads 50s
Leads Other People

  • Setting clear expectations
  • Managing conflict
  • Communicating effectively with your team
  • Building teams of volunteers
  • Discipling other people

Empowers: Leads 100s
Leads Other Leaders

  • Measuring and evaluating for results
  • Developing and mentoring leaders
  • Dealing with underperformers and dysfunction
  • Stewarding people, time and money
  • Planning for the future

Catalyzes: Leads 1000s
Leads Through Vision

  • Casting vision
  • Developing a senior leadership team
  • Renewing vision and strategy
  • Leading change
  • Shaping culture

Will All Leaders Walk This Path?

You may be thinking “If I’m currently a leader of 10s, will good development make me a leader of 1000s?” The answer to that is “maybe.” Some people will find they aren’t suited for the next level, and having that realization may be a good thing.

When studying leadership, it can be easy to stereotype leaders of large numbers as the best, assuming they’ve reaching the pinnacle of leadership development. The truth is, some people have an innate ability to inspire and lead 1000s and some people, no matter how hard they work, will never truly be gifted at leading at a higher level than the one they are living now.

Leadership is important at every level. We need to stop stigmatizing leaders by their number of followers and recognize the value in having each of the types of leadership gifts working together for the good of the Kingdom.

Some key points to leave you with:

  • Be honest about your capacity. Understand how God has wired you, and grow in your unique abilities.
  • If someone is not a leader, you can’t make them one. True leaders pursue development.
  • You can have influence whether you’re a leader or not. Disciple-making is for all Christ-followers–not just those of us with the leadership gift.
  • If you’re a leader who does grow to lead at different levels, you will still have to lead in ways other than how you’re currently positioned. (People who lead 1000s still sometimes need to lead by example.)
  • Think about the competencies you’ll need to grow to the next level. Get mentoring, training and coaching to learn those competencies.
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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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