Joshua and Gideon were two of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament. But the two of them shared something tragic in common. They made a mistake that many leaders still do today.
They failed to effectively reproduce leaders.
When Joshua and his generation passed away, the people of Israel forsook the Lord.
“And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that He did for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old . . . And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.” Judges 2:7-8, 10
When Gideon died, a power struggle ignited and the people started worshipping false gods. To borrow a phrase from GrowingLeaders.com, Joshua did not have a Joshua. Gideon did not have a Gideon. Who do you have?
This is a mistake that I’ve made as well. I’ll never forget the moment when someone pointed out to me that when my leadership of a ministry opportunity ended, the whole thing ceased, too.
Too often we act as if leadership were one generational.
The goal is not to become a great leader in your lifetime, but to plant seeds that will grow into a lasting legacy of leadership after you are gone.
How can you start the process of reproducing leaders in your team?
Spend quality time with your team.
This isn’t the occasional cup of coffee every six months. Leadership reproduction requires personal, quality time. Consider this to be an investment. Just like financial investments, it takes time and effort.
Rehearse the team’s vision in their ears.
I love this concept from Exodus 17:14. Moses wasn’t the perfect leader. He made serious mistakes and was not even allowed to enter the Promised Land. But he did at least one thing right —- he reproduced an effective servant leader in Joshua. One of the secrets to how it happened is found in verse fourteen of Exodus 17: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua.”
When Moses saw God at work, he repeated it to Joshua over and over and over again. Does your team hear the heart behind your company? Do they know the “why” behind what you do?
Number your days and make each one count.
Your time on earth and your time as a leader is limited. Practice the prayer of Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
If God calls you to another assignment, it doesn’t always mean that the work is finished. Take full advantage of every day you have to lead, but remember that leadership doesn’t last forever.
Ask God to lead you to the right new leader on your team.
Not everyone on your team is called to leadership. A bad leader can do more damage than no leader at all. Go to the Lord and ask Him to show you who the right person is for leadership. Everyone on your team is gifted, but not all are leaders.
But don’t make the mistake of picking a leader with your own wisdom. Samuel made that mistake, but God quickly straightened him out when he went to anoint David. Samuel had his own leadership criteria, but God had the exact opposite in mind. “And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 2 Samuel 2:6-7
Spend time with your team. Share the vision God has put on your heart. Make each day count. Ask God for wisdom.
Commit to doing those four things and you will be able to start effectively reproducing leaders on your team.
Aaress Lawless has ten years of experience working in the field of PR, and has been cited by many leading outlets including Microsoft, The New York Times, and CNET. Aaress is dedicated to helping you put God first in your business and will work with you to craft a public relations or web design approach best suited to your unique needs.
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