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The Senior Leader's Role in Leadership Development

Leaders are the lifeblood of your organization. With out them the mission goes nowhere. Those on the lower level of your leadership pipeline are often the hands and feet of making the vision become a reality. The more leaders you have the more expansive impact your organization can have. So it’s vital that the senior leader value the leaders under his command. But what is his or her role in developing a broader, more expansive pipeline of leaders?

Here are Five Essential Actions a senior leader must take to ensure the continual population of his organizations leadership pipeline.

  • Talk About It: Senior leaders can sometimes underestimate the power of their own voice. When they talk about something people listen and respond.  What you’re vocal about can easily become a value in the organization. Talk consistently about raising up new leaders.
  • Systematize It: Most organizations have no strategy or system for developing leaders. Leaving the leadership development of your organization to chance is poor stewardship of people’s potential. While the senior leader doesn’t create the system, he ensures that a simple reproducible system is in place.
  • Expect It: Inspect your pipeline regularly. While the senior leader is not the one who oversees the development of the pipeline of leaders he must certainly have a constant awareness of its condition. I recommend once quarter the senior leader receive a written report of who is in the pipeline, what level they are at and whose advancing and showing promise for the next level. He also needs to be aware of who on his staff is raising up leaders or not raising up leaders.
  • Model It: Nurture the development of his or her direct reports. Senior leaders have great demands on their time. In fact, this often becomes their excuse for not practicing leadership development. However their responsibility is to continually be developing the leadership character and competencies of their direct reports. This keeps him and his team growing consistently.
  • Celebrate It: What gets celebrated gets replicated. Senior leaders when you begin to celebrate the reproducing leaders in your organization you’ll begin to see a culture shift toward leadership development. Too often our focus is on celebrating the new leader, rather than the one who actually did the hard work of raising them up. Reward, recognize and celebrate

In a nutshell if you want to shape a Culture of Leadership Development – Talk about it, systematize it, expect it, model it and celebrate it.

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Mac Lake is the Development Pastor at Seacoast Church, a multi-site church with 13 campuses, where he oversees leadership development, small groups, missions, communications, and internships. He is a popular church leadership conference speaker and the author of the training resource Growing Small Group Leaders. Learn more from Mac at MacLakeOnline.com.