Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Resurgence roundup, 5/17/13
Fri May 17, 2013
Grace all the way
Wed May 15, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
How to be on mission in the city
Wed May 15, 2013
by Stephen Um
How to love people well
Tue May 14, 2013
by Dave Bruskas
Picking the Right People
It is a truism that the more people you lead, the more leaders you need.
As the size of your group, organization, church or company grows, so does the need for more character-filled, Christ-centered, and competent leaders.
It is also true that a leader’s ability to identify and develop new leaders will either make or break him or her as a leader. Some leaders seem to have an intuitive ability to make good choices. Some, looking back, realize they have made very poor choices in selecting and surrounding themselves with leaders—leaders who ultimately set back the entire operation to a place where it is seriously hindered from being able to achieve its purpose. You can find everything from small groups to multinational corporations in this dilemma.
The Clean-Up Crew
The one thing a leader does not want to do is spend their time cleaning up the messes left by leaders who should have never been chosen in the first place or who should have been released “a year ago.” I spend a good deal of time praying for wisdom for myself and other leaders I work with to make good choices in future leaders with whom to share the vision.
I am currently in touch with a church that is going through a very difficult time because a promising leader is choosing to do some things that have the potential of splitting the church right down the middle, causing great harm to numerous people. The “clean-up crew” is working overtime!
You want vision-makers, not vision-breakers.
Meditating on Acts
A little while back, I meditated on Acts 1:24 where we find the early church needing to make a choice about future leadership. It says, "They prayed and said, 'You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen.'" The early disciples understood two things:
- God knew people’s hearts and they didn’t.
- They didn’t have enough wisdom on their own to make the right choice.
I personally struggle with how they went about their choice to pick a replacement for Judas, but I admire their acknowledgement that the sovereign God knows the hearts of all leaders and their dependence on him for wisdom in making the right choice. Choosing and investing in future potential leaders is one of the most important tasks leaders face as a lot is at stake.
Getting the Ball Rolling
Picking the right leaders for your group, team, organization or church is critical for the advancement of the gospel and honoring Jesus Christ. It's also worth noting that Jesus spent an entire night in prayer before announcing his choice of the twelve (Lk 6:12).
Being dependent on the Lord is central in selecting potential and future leaders as well as seeking to be led by him and honoring him. Here are a few thoughts about selecting the right people. This is not exhaustive, but can get the ball rolling.
We need leaders who are voices not echoes.
You want to select people who are difference-makers, who bring a different perspective to the table, who are originals, and not just carbon copies of the party line. We need leaders who are voices not echoes. We desperately need people with fresh thinking and fresh perspective on old issues or issues which have us stuck in a rut. We don’t need or want “yes” men or women who merely echo what others are saying or have said. You want people who are connected in at least four ways:
1. Connected to Jesus
This is the primary and most important connection. The people you select need to have their identity in Christ and not in a role or position. They also should be growing in their intimacy with Christ through grace-filled time in scripture and prayer being foundational. Their love for Jesus should exceed love for anything else or anyone else. This sets the stage for every other connection.
2. Connected to You as the Leader
They should be people you enjoy, share chemistry with, and trust. They should bring out the best in you as a leader and want to be around you. This is not in an “I-want-to-be-close-to-the-leader-to-make-myself-feel-important” sort of way, but connected to you in an “allow-me-to-travel-with-you-and-help-you-get-to-where-you-want-to go” sort of way. They're contributors not consumers, people with proven character.
3. Connected to the Vision
Chose people who share your passion for the direction you are headed, who add to the existing team, and who bring a unique contribution that enhances the possibility of seeing that vision develop. You want vision-makers, not vision-breakers. Never invite people into the inner circle who have serious questions about your direction with the hope of helping them come around.
4. Connected to Others
Chose people who are able to influence others; those connected to others who also want to make a difference. In his excellent book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell devotes a chapter to “The Law of the Few” where he speaks of “connectors.” It’s worth the read. Much happens in the world through a few who are well connected to lots of others. Gladwell says,
Connectors know lots of people. They are the kinds of people who know everyone. All of us know someone like this. But I don’t think that we spend a lot of time thinking about the importance of these kinds of people. I’m not sure that most of us really believe that that kind of person who knows everyone really knows everyone. But they do.
Now, I don’t think everything Gladwell says is “gospel truth,” but there is enough truth here to get me thinking about the importance of influencing the influencers and connecting with the connected.
I am more prayerful and careful about choosing people to have around me than ever before. I have seen a lot of mayhem and carnage which prevents me from moving too quickly in the leadership selection process: elders, associate staff, executive team members, etc. As a life coach for pastors around the country, I am spending more and more time discussing the fine points of making prayerful choices, taking your time, doing your homework, and not being in a big hurry. The wrong people have the potential of short circuiting your leadership effectiveness, providing migraines on a regular basis and aging you quickly. I have both experienced and witnessed it (minus the migraines).
May your leadership circle be populated with good people who bring out the best in you and your leadership and bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ and his kingdom.
Have Dave Kraft speak at your church about Leaders Who Last.