You cannot make someone a better leader if you do not relate to people. You need to see people outside of a workplace setting, you need to let people be in a place where their guard is down. You need a relationship strong enough with someone where they can stop pretending.
Do not assume because people are Christians that they are automatically authentic – they come to church and try to be who others want them to be. Someone recently told me I was hard to please and they had tried to be who I wanted them to be. I said just be you, and that’s good enough. But a lot of people are not at that place and you need to build a stronger bridge to them.
The better the relationships you have with people, the more likely they are to trust you with their life and heart, and the easier it is to transform them into a leader.
Make sure it’s not a one-way relationship either, let people know your dreams, and your struggles (use some wisdom, don’t share something that will crush people – I have to be careful for example sharing the bills that come my way as they burden some people so much). We need to share our hearts with people too!
Don’t try and make someone a leader without that relationship and without it being on their side too. Ken Blanchard says do not equip people who are merely interested in you, but equip people who are committed to you. We can take that and put it here in the context of developing leaders – some people are interested in you and what you do, others are committed to it. The way you tell is that people who are interested in what you do will get involved only when it is convenient. For example we have our annual summer family conference this week, some people will come no matter what, they will change their world to be there. Those people are committed. Others will come for a session or two, out of curiosity, if it doesn’t interfere with everything else they have on. Those people are interested. Our leadership conference Gates of the City, and our annual conference, really help me realize who is interested in Tree of Life and who is committed, and who to invest in as new leaders. Selah.
Unless someone is committed to you, they will never be a successful leader. Someone once said that some people are so uncommitted that if they were a kamikaze pilot they would be able to do at least fifty missions. I am not shy about letting people know it is hard work to be a leader. In my field, the church, I let people know being a pastor is tough. Doing it right is tough. Loving people and leading them to green pastures and still waters is not easy. Caring for people is not easy. I will not undersell how tough it is or what it is going to take, so that I only attract the committed. Of course, no matter what you say, people won’t realize until they are in the trenches, but at least they cannot say I didn’t say! If people will not commit, do not waste your time on them.