While leaders are responsible for future leadership, there is a constant temptation to delay developing others. If you are addicted to short-term results, it will be easy to delay developing others. After all, leadership development is deeply countercultural in an instant gratification culture. And while leaders intuitively know they are responsible to develop others, many leaders often neglect the essential and offer foolish excuses instead. Here are three common ones:
1. I don’t have time.
The “I don’t have time” excuse is an admission that leadership development is not a priority. It is an admission that the essential and holy task of developing and deploying others has been buried beneath a plethora of less important activities. Bottom-line: We make time for what we believe is essential and important. This excuse is an indictment on the leader’s lack of conviction for developing others.
2. There is no one to develop.
While the “I don’t have time” excuse is an indictment on the leader’s conviction, the “There is no one to develop” excuse is an indictment on the leader’s competence. The leader has essentially admitted an inability to know and develop people. The leader really just wants fully formed leaders to arrive from somewhere else. A leader who excels in leadership development is able to take committed people where they are and move them to a place of greater impact.
3. It is not the current need.
The leader who uses the “It is not the current need” excuse has admitted to holding a shortsighted view of leading others. The leader has admitted to holding a narrow and limited perspective. Developing others is always the current need. A ministry or organization has the current leadership crisis or enjoys the current healthy leadership culture because of equipping either being neglected or executed in previous seasons.
The excuses say more about the leader than anything else. When a leader says, “I don’t have time,” the person is really saying, “It is not a priority.” When a leader says, “There is no one to develop,” the person is really saying, “I can’t develop people.” When a leader says, “It is not the current need,” the leader is really saying, “I have a limited perspective.”