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Chapter XVII Paul (Reproduction) Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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If you take a careful and studious look at II Timothy 2:1 you can learn more about the man named Paul. You will see that he was a leader who believed in training others to become leaders. It should become quite clear that Paul understood that when you train followers, the growth and progress toward the acquisition of your vision and goals can only be gradually achieved because only one person at a time is receiving the message of that dream and continuing to carry it on toward fruition. Conversely Paul believed, as do I, that when you train multiple leaders, the growth and progress are increased exponentially. This occurs because you harness the efforts and followers of each leader you train and infect with the significance of your mission. The benefit of training numerous leaders and not gathering followers can easily be compared to the difference between addition and multiplication. So let's take some time to compare some differences in the two types of leaders exemplified by the presence or absence of what I will refer to as the "Principle of Reproduction". Hopefully I will be able to show you just what some of the differences are between leaders who gather followers (for the satisfaction of their own egos) and leaders who train leaders (for the benefit of their mission):

One of the first observations you will make regarding leaders who train followers, is that they usually need to be needed. They are generally in need of what psychologists refer to as "ego stroking." Leaders of this type will always gather some amount of followers; however, they will rarely be well equipped enough to prepare those followers to ever undertake any leadership responsibilities on their own. These leaders are often insecure in their own right and will unintentionally pass that inadequacy along to those they train as well. They will typically make an effort to hide that insecurity behind a façade of false bravado. They will also frequently display that most disruptive of characteristics their subordinates recognize as "micro-management."

On the other hand quite the opposite is true of leaders who train others to become leaders themselves. This kind of leader still wants to succeed. However, they are more interested in being succeeded. They are less interested in gathering a following of their own than they are in leaving future generations a legacy of leaders capable of leading and continuing the life of a vision, mission or goal toward a victorious conclusion. Their passing into history is marked solely by transition and not by the self-construction of temporal monuments to their achievements, because, their achievements are living and breathing and continuing to train another generation of leaders. Leaders like these will never be forgotten by those whom they have led, and in fact will be in some small way always be a part of those they have trained.

Right here is a good place to remind you that the greatest leaders are not measured by what they themselves achieve (resume's terminate with your earthly demise) but by the things they achieve for and through others.

Another thing about leaders who gather followers is that they tend to focus on peoples weaknesses. This often makes them feel superior and more secure and qualified in their positions, but does nothing to strengthen or help their subordinates reach the pinnacle of their own leadership potential. Leaders of this type use the weaknesses of others to gain or sustain their own superiority. They focus on their own priorities, placing them above all else.

Thankfully though there are still leaders who possess a strong and overriding desire to train others to be leaders. These people focus on developing their subordinates' strengths and reducing their weaknesses because that is the key to developing the potential of any future leader. Leaders like these are never afraid to train themselves out of a job. They realize that the future never belongs to the current generation; it is and will always remain a mystery that can only be unlocked and understood by those reaching it. Providing the future with strong capable and dedicated leaders who will continue to develop others to carry on this tradition of excellence, a tradition and training they themselves received from past leaders who have taken their rightful places in the annals of history, is their ultimate goal.

It seems to me that those leaders who primarily focus on gathering followers will find themselves time and again dealing with the problems of the bottom 20% of their entourage. This faction is often the loudest, most complaining and least productive segment of their following. They require the highest maintenance and will frequently require the diversion of precious resources proportionately causing an overall reduction in the efficiency of the entire group.

On the other hand whenever you study the kind of leaders who direct their efforts with clear motives and insight it becomes obvious that these leaders who focus on building future leaders will target about the top 20% of their staff. Studies show that these are the ones who almost always produce more than is required of them. Focusing on this bloc of potential leaders not only increases an organization's efficiency and productivity but also allows the potential of these future leaders to be unleashed, tested, refined and validated under the guidance of a current tried and tested hierarchy of proven leaders. This process develops a broad base of qualified leadership simply waiting to be tapped as future needs dictate.

Leaders who gather followers may also look at everyone as having the same capabilities because they are lack the capability to intricately employ the interlocking strengths and weaknesses each person may possess. These critical strengths and weaknesses when employed properly can often be very beneficial to the success of the leader's mission. Ignoring them may result in disastrous consequences.

While in contrast to the above category of leader, leaders who are always on the lookout for ways to develop others as leaders recognize that each person is an individual. They can see the strengths and weaknesses of each person and know just how to integrate their complimentary capabilities into an efficient and productive work force. When Paul went on his missionary journeys, he didn't take along just anyone who wanted to go, He selected his companions wisely according to their capabilities, calling and willingness to serve. That, my friend, is a proven formula for success.

It appears to me that leaders who work to gather followers seem to be spending their time focusing only on people in their current circumstances. While leaders who build leaders are really investing their time in not only people as they are, but in the future as well. For example, Paul saw little reason to indicate there was any value in spending time on John Mark during the time frame of Acts 13:13 and was therefore reluctant to do so as discussed in Acts 15:37-40. However, because of the efforts of another of Paul's leadership team members, the man called Barnabas, investing his time working directly with John Mark while allowing Paul to direct his efforts toward Timothy a potential leader who was by now ready for increased responsibilities two valuable assets were produced for the future good of Paul's mission.

One last thing I have noticed about leaders who gather followers is that they ask for very little commitment, but, leaders who train leaders ask for and require a great deal of dedication. When you ask a person only to follow there is very little commitment involved on their part except for the responsibility for his or her own actions. However, when you ask a person to lead they must accept an increase in both service requirements and in accepting the responsibility for the welfare of others and for their actions. There is also an increased requirement for personal sacrifice.

Paul knew and understood something that it would be wise for any good leader to never forget. That being the premise that those leaders who gather followers will at best impact the present, while leaders who train leaders will not only impact the present, but will make a marked impact on the future of generations yet to come.

To be a good mentor of future leaders will require that you never forget you maintain a need to always continue learning yourself. While it may be true that a good leader can gather a band of followers and achieve a worthy goal, it is only a great leader that can gather, prepare and direct a band of leaders toward the achievement of as yet uncharted goals.

I remember being told somewhere along life's highway that there are only two types of people you will meet along the way, they are teachers and learners. I have since learned from experience that the best teachers nearly always come from the latter group.





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