Every successful organization (business, church or endeavour) is lead by a dynamic leader with a clear and compelling vision. A leader who has the ability to the see the future and communicate the “what could be” to the team of followers (staff, members or shareholders) that enable them to take the leap of faith and tread down the road to the unknown.

Leadership is essential. But no leader can lead alone. And at some point, every successful leader must become a leader of leaders. Someone committed to discovery, development and deployment of other leaders if they want to experience continued growth and success in their organization. To the continual practice of handing off responsibility in order to focus on the unique leadership components and tasks that only they can do in order to keep the vision moving forward.

Successful leadership is the ability to continually release responsibility to the team and leaders you are serving. It’s delegating tasks, projects, goals, departments, ministries and initiatives to trusted and developing leaders who have bought into the vision of the organization and into you as their leader.

Unfortunately, while most leaders understand the concept of delegating tasks, projects, goals, departments, etc. to their team, they fail to follow through the rest of the leadership development process.

Delegation is just step one.

Leadership isn’t the delegation of tasks. Leadership is the development of people to accomplish the tasks that moves the organization forward in it’s vision.

In order to become a leader of leaders, you must commit to developing leaders by continually rotating through all four steps of leadership development.

Successful leadership is the ability to continually release responsibility to your team. - Adam Fry
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Step One: Delegate
This is the initial hand off of responsibility. It is not blindly given, but the start of any leadership development process. It can start with small tasks or short-term projects, but the following steps all look the same.

As trust is built and leadership is proven, the tasks can grow into larger projects, ministry initiatives or even staff roles.

Delegating is not deledumping all the menial tasks you don’t want to do upon your subordinates. It’s releasing the tasks and responsibilities that others are able to do, in order for you as the leader to focus on the things only you can do.

Step Two: Investigate
The second step it critical if you’re committed to developing future leaders. This happens during the execution of the task.

Investigating isn’t micromanaging, it’s creating regular touch points to see how things are developing. It’s making yourself available for questions along the way and providing applicable resources needed to accomplish the task.

Every organization has a gravitational pull towards confusion and complexity. Being a leader committed to the process of developing leaders, you need to be intentional about promoting clarity and simplicity. The process of investigation provides a highway of dialogue for that to take place.

The challenge for every leader in this step is to provide direction and not dictate the process. To ask guiding questions that allow the leader in training to discover the route themselves rather than telling them what they should do in the given situation.

The process of investigation is a process of discovery.

Step Three: Evaluate
Once the task, project or ministry initiative is complete, every leader must commit to the third step of evaluation.  There will always be a temptation to evaluate during step two, but practice restraint and save your evaluation until after the project is complete.

If you are leading a leader of an ongoing department or ministry, schedule regular and intentional evaluation conversations you both can prepare for.

While evaluation can be tough at times (both as the giver and receiver), it is critical for the development of any leader in order to see growth.

Andy Chrisman, Worship Pastor at Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma says, “Critique without praise stifles enthusiasm, but praise with critique stifles progress.”

As leaders, it’s our responsibility to develop of culture of constant critique and encouragement. This means, not only do we need to be willing to provide evaluation that elevates people, but also be open to receiving critique and evaluation from others. If you are closed to critique as a leader, you can’t expect those who follow you to be open to it either.

The challenge for every leader is not to evaluate toward personal preference – the way you would’ve done it or liked to see it done. The key for successful evaluation (and the development of leaders) is to evaluate towards purpose. Did it accomplish the goal? While there is only one road to heaven, there are many roads that lead to accomplishing the goals, tasks and ministry initiatives we are positioned to lead.

The process of evaluation is a process of refining their unique skills and gifts.

Step Four: Celebrate
The final step is probably the most important, yet it’s the one that gets forgotten or glossed over the most. It’s the intentional step of celebrating the success and accomplishment of the task.

The common challenge of successful organizations is busyness – there is always something to do. As soon as one project is complete, you’re on to the next. While this is a great challenge, for the most part, it also carries the potential to rob you of completing this fourth step.

In his book, Making Vision Stick, Andy Stanley writes, “What is celebrated is repeated. The behaviours that are celebrated are repeated. The decisions that are celebrated are repeated. The values that are celebrated are repeated…Celebration trumps motivational speeches every time.”

By taking the time to both privately and publicly (if appropriate) celebrate what has been accomplished, you will yield continued results in the future. This will also create confidence in your team and a greater sense of commitment to pushing forward in the vision.

Every leader wants to know they have what it takes.

Every leader wants to know they are making a difference.

Every leader wants to be a part of something bigger then themselves.

Continually celebrating your team and their accomplishments is the quickest way to build your team, a shared sense of purpose and confidence in the leaders you are leading.

As leaders, we are only as strong as the leaders we surround ourselves with. Great leaders are disciplined in the process of discovering, developing and deploying leaders. And while this takes time and incredibly investment, it’s the practice that every leader of leaders must master in order to see continued growth in their organization.

Leadership isn’t the delegation of tasks. It's the development of people to accomplish the tasks. - Adam Fry
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So what do you think? What step do you have trouble taking with your team? What is one thing you can do today that will make you a better leader of leaders tomorrow?

About Adam

Adam is the Executive Pastor at Lifecentre in the Ottawa. He is incredibly passionate about the local church and designing unforgettable opportunities for people to experience God.

Adam lives in Ottawa with his beautiful wife, Wendy, and their twin boys, Carter and Hunter.