Leaders Must Grow as the Organization Grows

In my experience, it’s easier to hide bad leadership in a place, which isn’t growing.

However, the larger an organization gets – the more growth that occurs – the more bad leadership becomes apparent.

As a leader for the last several decades, I’ve learned the times my leadership is stretched the most are the times we are growing – and changing – the fastest.

As an organization grows:

  • People ask harder questions and challenge the process.
  • More decisions have to be made.
  • There never seems to be enough time.
  • Better systems are needed.
  • The people required to do the work increases.
  • Leadership development becomes more important.
  • Effective delegation and management is necessary.
  • Resources are stretched.
  • Commucication is often messy.
  • Tensions are high.

I have even wondered if an organization can outgrow the capacity of a leader. (I certainly think it could outgrow me.)

Here’s the bottom line.

As the organization grows – as things get bigger – the leader must be equally growing.

This can be a sobering word for leaders. But, leadership is often a sobering reality. But, the leader must understand – continuing to grow an organization always requires a leader to continually grow.

Which leads me to close with an important question:

What is your personal leadership development plan?

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8 thoughts on “Leaders Must Grow as the Organization Grows

  1. Seven years ago, I had so much hope for our little church. We were growing with new families coming in. I was leading a thriving kid’s ministry. Now, I’m in the process of finding a new church because of this exact problem: aging leadership that refuses to change. We tried for the last three years to lead a revitalization effort and eventually realized that it was a losing battle, not for lack of grass roots support, but because the leadership wouldn’t budge. The result: 30 people have left and more are likely. Worshiping at the altar of tradition and clinging to all that was wonderful about yesteryear has led to empty pews. There’s clearly no room there for the dreamers and I fear the writing is on the wall.

  2. Ron, I would definitely affirm that there are times when an organization's needs outgrow a leader's ability to lead. My primary context is church ministry. One of the things that I've learned (and I don't remember exactly where from), is that there are different levels and types of leaders. Not all leaders lead the same way. Not all leaders are able to lead at the same level. Some are better at smaller tasks, others at larger. In the context of a church, I think church's are hurt when the senior leader who God brought at a specific time for a specific reason/need stays beyond their ability to lead or grow as the church grows and changes. Some are able to grow in leadership skill, some are not. It comes down to a leader being having a clear understanding of his gifts/abilities from God and operating in them. And yes, I've served in churches where this has happened, and it hasn't been pretty.

  3. Q #1: I try to read as much as possible. I lack in this area of learning.

    Q#2: Leadership Plan?

    OQ: Yes. I have seen it in myself. Being honest, I think my personality and leadership style fits into a church in a smaller community. I have not really worked in a multiple staff situation other than having one other person (usually a youth pastor) where give and take at staff meetings and dreaming were part of the process. Yep, I have room to grow.