How to Become an Indispensable Leader

Several years ago I was working on developing a leadership training track for a church.  If there are smart people around I like to get their input and help, so I got together some folks who had first-hand experience in training people to become good and great leaders.  One of them, named Martin, had recently retired from the military, after several years of service.  He said something that all organizations would do well to remember.

“In the military, part of everyone’s job is to train someone else to do what they are doing because they know it is just a matter of time until they are moved and that work still needs to be done.”

Most organizations, including churches, have a leadership bottleneck.  There are not enough good to great leaders so the organization never becomes all it could be.  John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid tells us an organization (and this is true of any profit or not-for-profit) will rise no higher than the level of its leadership.  That means a lack of excellent leaders is one of the main reasons organizations stall, plateau, or regress.


In Seth Godin’s best-seller Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? He makes the case that doing work that anyone else could do with some basic training and instructions will not make you a Linchpin; it makes you a cog.  A Linchpin is someone who learns to solve problems and lead.  If you learn to do those two things well, then you can become indispensable to the people you serve.  If you solve problems and lead well, your services will always be wanted and needed.

So how do you both train someone else to do what you do so there is no hole when you move on and still be a highly valued Linchpin?

Here is one way:

Become really good at training other people to do what you do in their own style and based on their unique talents.  Show them what you do, but encourage them to apply your insights in their particular way.

If you keep doing your work well by solving problems and leading and then teach someone else to do this as well, you will become highly sought after because relatively few people actually do this.

You will keep raising the leadership lid and expanding the leadership bottleneck for greater work capacity.

That is one thing I’ve done well over the years.  In every role I have trained someone else to do it well so that when I left there was no drop-off.  This freed me up to take on new challenges while making sure my responsibilities was ably carried out.

If I can help you with that give me a call for a free Leadership Strategy session: 314-307-5406.

Solve problems, lead, and help others do the same.  You will become indispensable.


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