#370 Secure Leaders Develop Others

March 27, 2024

We have examined several significant actions of secure leaders and recognized that secure leaders are serving leaders. They demonstrate their leadership security as they serve by encouraging, delegating, embracing differences, and accepting mistakes. These actions all lead to the final one, developing others. Developing others is both the outcome of these actions and a deliberate act of secure leaders. Apart from Jesus, Paul is perhaps the best example of a secure leader that developed many other leaders, including Apollos. When the Corinthian church started quarreling about who they should follow, Paul had this to say:  

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:5-9, NIV).

Paul’s response demonstrates why secure leaders serve as they develop others.

Secure leaders develop others because they recognize their role.  

 “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants…” Paul recognized that he was the founder of this church. But he also saw his role as a servant. He was in a role to serve others and to meet the needs they had. He served by developing Apollos, another servant. Paul was secure in his role and did not need to defend his superiority.   

An insecure leader in the same situation would loudly defend their own role and remind people of their title or position. But secure leaders do not need to argue, they recognize their role and are content to serve in the place of influence they occupy whether that is high or low.

Secure leaders develop others because they respect the gifts of others. 

“…as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it…” Paul knew his own gifts but recognized that Apollos had distinct gifts. Paul was secure in who he was called to be and had no problem with one of his disciples being gifted differently.

Insecure leaders cannot affirm the unique gifts of others, especially when they seem to outshine their own. But secure leaders respect the gifts others bring and welcome them to use those gifts to serve.  

Secure leaders develop others because they realize the vision.  

 “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” Paul was able to develop others and allow them to flourish because he realized that the vision was much bigger than him. Paul’s vision was not only to plant churches but to see a reproducing movement of churches. He realized that he could not accomplish this alone. He was secure enough to invest in developing others so the work would multiply in subsequent generations.

Insecure leaders limit the vision to what they can accomplish through others but they don’t develop others to multiply the vision for the next generations. Their focus on self produces a short-term vision. But secure leaders see a larger vision of work that will continue long after their own time. So, they invest in the lives of others, developing them to carry on the vision.

Your security as a leader matters! Consider the questions below to grow in your own leadership security.   

For further reflection and discussion:

  • When I look at my own leadership, do I primarily see things I have accomplished myself or ways that I have developed others?  How does this reflect my own level of leadership security?
  • How do I see my role as a leader? Do I have a need to be at the top or be recognized as the most important leader in my organization? If my title was taken away, would I be content to continue serving in whatever role I had?
  • When I see gifts in others, do I feel threatened by areas in which they excel beyond me? How does this impact the way I talk about other leaders in my organization?
  • Is my vision limited to what I can accomplish in my lifetime, or do I see a larger picture of what can be accomplished in the next generations?   
  • Where I see insecurity in my leadership, what steps do I need to take this week to become a more secure leader? Who can I talk with that can help me grow or hold me accountable to take the steps I need to take?           

Until next time, yours on the journey,

Jon Byler  In the next issue, we’ll begin a new series.