Jim primarily taught me the ropes of my profession and helped me navigate the budding relationships in my life, Gus focused on my spiritual growth, discipling me as part of a group with five other young men, and Sid helped me cast vision for my future and introduced me to the world of university teaching.
Of course, each one’s personal influence on me overlapped into every domain of my life, but working together, they were able to help develop me in a more holistic manner than if any of them had mentored me alone. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without their combined influence on my life. I constantly thank God for each of them.
The best way to develop leaders is NOT alone. Truly, the team outperforms the individual when it comes to developing leaders. In fact, developing leaders is one of those places where we can simultaneously tithe to collaboration, reap the enormous rewards of working together, and multiply the impact of our time.
Even if it is your responsibility to develop other leaders, here are five strategies that you can use to take a team approach to developing leaders (for ease, we will call them mentees).
- Involve 3-4 other people in the leadership development process. Ask your mentee to identify 3-4 key people who have positively influenced the mentee in the past (these might be, but do not necessarily need to be, people in your organization). Next, ask your mentee to call them and invite them to participate as a sounding board, offer specific feedback, and provide targeted wisdom on particular topics. Then, throughout the mentoring engagement, simply ask your mentee to discuss particular development topics and issues with that group of folks. When you do that, others who have different gifts than you will pour into your mentee, multiplying the impact you alone can make.
- Employ some sort of 360-degree assessment. Allow others to comment on your mentees’ strengths and growth opportunities.
- Assemble groups of 5-6 mentees and give them case studies and action learning projects to tackle. Identify the group, set up the forum (space, time, and nourishment), offer some direction about working well with others, articulate the learning exercise, then leave. Allow them to grapple with the issues, propose a solution, and then present it to you. From there, you will find lots of fodder for continuing discussion.
- Bring in others to teach seminars and facilitate workshops. Develop a regular rhythm for continuing leadership development programming (about once or twice a month) and resist the urge to constantly share your pearls of wisdom. Invite others who have greater skills and experience than you to share with your mentee(s).
- Maintain your humility. Do not think too much of yourself or what you can offer your mentee. Realize you can only give a piece of what your mentee needs to learn as they grow as a leader. This one is most important, because you will only involve others in the leadership development process in the four strategies listed previously if you believe, one, that you can not do it all yourself, and two, that it is best that you don’t do it yourself, even if you could.
Practicing these five strategies will:
- increase the impact of your development process,
- provide others with a chance to exercise their spiritual gifts and contribute to the your church body,
- keep you sane as you try to get your job done and develop leaders (most of us do not have positions that only require us to raise up leaders), and
- expose you to folks who can further develop you as a leader, as well.
What are you waiting for?
Give one or more of these strategies a try! And, if you think about, let me know how it goes.
Join the Conversation:
Before you get to work developing leaders, leave a comment to let me (and all of my readers) know what you do to employ a team in the development of leaders.