The Failure of Leadership

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Do you ever feel like a failure?

Over the past week I have had a couple people make mention of my leadership skillfulness (my word, not theirs). At the moment, however, I feel like a leadership failure.

The ministry here has a hit an interesting spot, and one I am having a difficult time assessing. But, in the process of assessing and diagnosing, I came to a realization: the failure of leadership is not leading poorly, it is not leading at all.

Let me drill down and put it another way. Making mistakes is not the failure of leadership; the failure of leadership is failing to develop others.

Let’s agree for the moment the 3 Questions give us a framework not only for developing other leaders, but for developing as leaders ourselves. After all, the power of the 3 questions comes from answering the 3rd question–“who can I get to help”.

Every organization (a youth ministry, for example) experiences life stages. Some organizations are in their infancy when the world is new and everything is exciting. Other organizations are in retirement, enjoying the fruit of their labor. Still others are adolescents, dealing with the emotional roller coaster of development, learning how to make right decisions by making wrong ones. But every organization changes, and will not look the same in the future.

As a leader, we have to ask ourselves, how are we adjusting to the current life stage? As a parent, I cannot relate to my 7 year old the way I did when she was 2. It takes time, discernment, and action to adjust and move forward.

So, if the failure of leadership is failing to develop others, when your ministry or organization moves from one stage to the next, the question to ask is not how do we keep things the same, but what does our ministry look like now?

For you, whatever life stage your ministry or organization is in, how are you adjusting? What needs to change? What needs to stay the same?

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