The heights of great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upwards in the night.
The Ladder of St. Augustine, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
My conversation with this 30-year-old leader had come to a point of discussing his ongoing development as a leader. “But my organization is not even thinking about my development,” he explained in exasperation. “When will I be developed as a leader so that I can truly make my contribution?”
I’ve reflected on that conversation many times. Who is responsible for our development as leaders?
Certainly, God Himself is very interested in our development. We understand that we are created for a purpose (Ephesian 2:10), and are all works in progress, being shaped into the image of Christ daily as we grow toward maturity in Him. He is at work within us, developing us through the work of the Spirit.
Our second source of development may be our organization or workplace. Businesses and organizations that purposefully invest in developing their leadership communities tend to do well over time.
These developmental opportunities can be: 1) formal (academic credentialing – i.e. secondary degrees) or 2) semi-formal (certifications, symposiums, or seminars). Some workplaces are better than others about providing this type of intentional development. And even those who are committed to this intentional development of leaders will often greatly cut the budget or staffing for it when there is an overall budget tightening.
But, the primary source for our development must come from within. We must own our own development as leaders. Rather than waiting or complaining, take the responsibility upon yourself to be the best leader you can possibly be. Pursue your development and don’t let any excuse keep you from it.
Be the best leader you can be for Jesus sake and embrace your own development!