John Maxwell’s excellent leadership blog shares the need for leaders to mentor and groom successors for their position or their accomplishments will not be long lasting

John, we have a problem” … As a leader, you get used to hearing those words. Challenges are a daily part of leadership. However, when this time when I heard them, I felt my stomach drop. I was young and had just left the church in Hillham, my first position as a leader. I had moved to a new opportunity, in part because I believed that Hillham was in great shape to continue its growth and work. “We’ve fallen off,” my friend said. “Attendance is down, and so is morale. John, what’s gone wrong?”

It was devastating to learn that the three years Margaret and I invested in Hillham had withered so quickly. For as much as I was able to accomplish as a one-man show in Hillham, the truth is my failure to multiply myself as a leader hurt the church. Because I didn’t develop others, the church fell back into a state similar to what it had been before my arrival.  So where did I go wrong?

After a lot of wrestling, I realized that I’d failed to see the limits of a one-man show:

1. The Limit of Vision — But while I partnered with the people in the work, I never transferred the vision to them. It was my vision, not our vision. And that’s not an uncommon problem for leaders to have. As leaders, we get so caught up in what we can see, what we think should be, that we sometimes fail to bring others into the process. When leaders don’t invite others to share the vision and make it their own, that vision is automatically tethered to the leader.

2. The Limit of Influence — Much like vision, your influence as a leader is tethered to you unless you share it. Had I selected even one person to mentor or develop during my time at Hillham, their influence would’ve remained when I left.  Where I really missed the boat was in not developing at least one other leader who would go on to develop other leaders! Talk about limiting yourself! I like to say, if one is good, four is better—and that’s true with leaders. Why add one or two when you can multiply by three or four? Influence is at its best when it is multiplied.

3. The Limit of Momentum –I want to touch on one more area where the limits of a one-man show really make a difference—momentum. The lessons helped me develop one of my core beliefs about leadership: leaders must develop other leaders…who develop other leaders. That principle of multiplication drives me every day to continue growing myself and growing leaders around me, because I want my legacy to be one of leadership development. I want to develop strong leaders who carry the vision, the influence and the momentum. And I’m especially excited about our newest initiative to transform leaders who transform nations that transform our world.