Leadership Lesson 13: Leader Multiplication ~ When One Becomes Twelve

One of the greatest lessons I have learned over the years is the necessity of working with others to grow an organization. In my early years, it was all too easy to roll up my sleeves and try to accomplish the vision whether others followed or not. After a few years, I became keenly aware that growth happens by addition in that way, but real leaders grow organizations through multiplication.

What is multiplication growth?

Multiplication growth happens when the leader engages team members to develop and accomplish the vision.

Here is an example that will make this practical. When I arrived at Ohio Christian University, I knew we must grow from 400 to 2,000 over a short time. Due to the culture change that was needed, much of the early decision-making and vision came from a small group of leaders who had experienced that type of growth in prior environments. Upon reflection, this was one strategy or approach to ensure rapid growth for the organization. It worked, but at times it was messy.

Now, eight years into leading the organization, an expanded team is engaged in envisioning the future and the direction of the university through broad-based goals and specific objectives. As President, I have only attended a couple of the six to eight strategic planning committee meetings. During the first meeting, I shared vision ideas, but left the work in capable hands.

What has happened? Twenty or so capable leaders have developed the vision and  are multiplying the organizational effort.

Leader, whether working with volunteers or full time employees, the organization will not move into multiplication stage without the leader developing more leaders and turning them loose to serve. Develop leaders—let go—and see what happens.

What is your plan to develop leaders for multiplication? In my first pastorate, I only had three or four leaders with whom I spent lots of time to expand the vision of the church. There were only two or three men in the church, but Gordon caught a vision for a men’s ministry, and within a year, 18-20 men were part of the men’s group. The men’s group started a ministry that served the elderly once a month on Saturday mornings. They shoveled coal, painted, and did yard work for any donation. The donations led to a church being built in a remote village in Mexico. One man had a vision.

Leader, who are you developing? One man named Jesus worked with 12 others and the world has forever been changed through His message of salvation. Get busy!