Day 74 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Build a Bench!

I’m writing, How to Lead by THE BOOK with a dual purpose in mind: (1). Equip the reader to develop himself as a better leader. (2). Provide a blueprint for the reader to also develop others into better leaders. While most leaders grasp the importance of point 1, many fall short when it comes to building a bench of other leaders within their organization. There are four primary benefits to building a bench of leaders in your organization:

1. A bench creates the conditions for the organization’s success to continue in the leader’s absence. This is because the talent pool has more depth. As a result, the organization’s future is more secure and  sustainable.

2. A bench lightens the primary leader’s load as responsibilities are shared amongst several capable people.

3. A bench allows the primary leader to remain in his or her own strength zone, maximizing her productivity.

4. A culture that nurtures and develops others to increase its bench strength attracts and retains the best people in its industry; people who want to be trained, stretched, and challenged to reach their potential.

Jesus is the ultimate example of a leader who successfully built a bench to carry on and expand His work after His departure. Moses did the same by developing Joshua. However, Joshua failed to develop a successor and hundreds of years of chaos ensued after his death.

After completing the Jerusalem Wall, Nehemiah, an outstanding leader in his own right, failed to create bench strength amongst his people to rule well in his absence. Upon returning to inspect the progress of his people, Nehemiah was shocked and angered to discover how far things had drifted while he was gone. To his credit, he quickly whipped his people back into shape.

What does your organization’s bench look like? Are your leaders responsible for mentoring high potential people in each of their departments? One of our clients sends its managers to our leadership workshops in pairs. The departmental leader brings with him or her a high potential individual they are mentoring and grooming for bigger and better things. The results speak for themselves as this company continues to grow exponentially despite challenging economic times.

Frankly, you can judge a leader’s effectiveness and value to your organization based on his ability and willingness to build a bench. I’ll lay out a step-by-step mentoring plan for accomplishing this in, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK.

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