Monday, October 23, 2006


Developing the next generation of leaders is the greatest amplifier of a leader’s impact. But becoming a leader who develops leaders instead of a leader who develops followers requires an entirely different focus. Consider some of the differences John Maxwell points out in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:

Leaders who develop followers Leaders who develop leaders

Need to be needed Want to be succeeded

Focus on weaknesses Focus on strengths

Develop the bottom 20 percent Develop the top 20 percent

Treat people the same for fairness Treat people as individuals for impact

Hoard power Give power away

Spend time with others Invest time in others

Grow by addition Grow by multiplication

Impact only people they touch Impact people far beyond their reach

John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza says, “It’s my job to build the people who are going to build the company.” I like that point of view. It is not his job to build the company. It is his job to build the people so that they can build the company.

Are you building the ministry, or are you building the people who are building the ministry?

John Maxwell makes a distinction between achievement, success, significance and leaving a legacy:

Achievement comes to someone when he is able to do great things for himself. Success comes when he empowers followers to do great things with him. Significance comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him. But a legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him.

One of the greatest moments that will occur in your leadership journey is the moment when you realize that you are not needed. Why? Because you have done such a great job of “equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry.” It can be a hard moment too, because inside of us all is often a “need to be needed.” But great leaders fight that predictable internal resistance to reach for a higher calling, the advancement of the kingdom of God.

What happens when you “work yourself out of a job.” Is there job security in being such a great leader that you are no longer needed? Oh yeah. One-time Vice Presidential candidate Admiral James Stockdale declared, “Leadership....means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers…What we need for leaders are men of heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.”

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