‘No leadership, No future’ L062

…so said Dwight Smith, one of my past leadership mentors .

And I believe it. Leadership is often much maligned and sometimes with good cause. The quality of leadership in the UK is not something to be proud of. Leadership is often something people
are expected to pick up along the way, whether it is in business, local government, the arts, education or even the church.

I wonder if the basics of leadership were part of a core curriculum on personal development that was taught in schools, if we wouldn’t produce more and better leaders. At the very least it would awaken a realisation that leaders are as much made as born, and that it requires focussed effort, intentional learning, hands-on experience, and constant appraisal with feedback.

So what about in the church? – Leaders are in constant demand. As the church expands it needs people who will take both initiative and responsibility – the two key functions of leadership. Whether it be leading a small group, a welcoming team or a church plant, leadership is crucial. No leadership, No future.

The book ‘Leadership Pipeline’ by Charran, Drotter and Noel is instructive in helping us think about the need for a constant process of leadership development. In particular it identifies the need for different kinds of leaders at different levels. The skills required to lead ourselves is different to the skills needed to lead a few other direct reports, and is very different to the skills needed to lead those who manage or oversee others. It’s also very different to leadership that gives vision and direction to a whole organisation.

How will we ensure that we have enough leaders for the future? Some churches will hire in outsiders. It saves all the bother of training people yourself, but runs a high risk of a mismatch of DNA. This in turn leads to tensions within leadership and often much pain in the parting. Alternatively you commit to the long slow process of raising up leaders in-house. This requires much patience and a belief that we should be investing in people’s leadership potential whether or not they end up staying with us. It’s easy to see years of investment apparently wasted when your young enthusiastic leader walks out the door to another opportunity outside your church.

With a kingdom mind-set of course it is never wasted, and I believe if we will sow into such people, and end up blessing other situations, churches or organisations; then we will surely reap in our own ‘house’.

Moses made the obvious statement that there would be leaders of 10s, 50s, 100s and 1000s. This not only reflects the idea that we all have a ‘measure of leadership’ as Paul described it in 2 Cor 10:13, but also that if we are going to lead 1000s then we probably need to have led 10s first! Jesus put it this way ‘he who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much.’

So as we consider our own place in the leadership pipeline, lets think about the skills, opportunities, type of training, and mind-set changes that we will need to go to the next level. Let’s look for them and welcome them when we find them. If the opportunities and training are not obvious, then perhaps we should provoke those who manage or mentor us to help us find the next step. A growing leader is usually a happy leader!

This entry was posted by nic on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 11:49 am and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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