When people ask what I think the best leadership tool is today, they’re expecting me to respond with a particular book, program or course. While all those are helpful none of them rank at the top of my list. The one thing that produces the greatest leadership development results every single time is hands-on work under the watchful eye of a mentor.

If you want to develop someone to be a small group leader, then put them in your small group and start giving them the tasks of a small group leader. If you want someone to be a manager, then bring them along side you and start giving them the tasks of a manager. If you want someone to be a worship leader, bring them along side you and give them the tasks of a worship leader.

But wait!!! They’re not ready!! Exactly! That’s why you give them the tasks before you give them the title. There’s nothing like the messy soil of failure to learn how to lead well. For example, the best way to teach a young leader how to lead a meeting is let them lead a meeting while you watch. Then immediately afterward discuss with them what they did well and what they could do better. This type of coaching has a powerful impact on learning.

Each baseball season a whole new crop of youngsters line up to play the game for the first time. Months before they ever take the field for a game, they start practice with a coach who guides them each step along the way. Each practice they go through a series of repetitions learning to throw, catch and swing. Then when the pre-season of practice is over, and it’s game time these little rookies take their positions on the field with a new level of confidence and competence. The coach’s observations and feedback have transformed their skills and readied them for the game.

Remember it’s not experience that produces the transformation, its the evaluated experience that makes the difference. What hands-on experience can you give your leaders this week that will give them the swings at the plate they need to develop into great leaders?

Author: Mac Lake

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