One of the greatest gifts you can give your organization is to develop people for the future. We as leaders feel a nature pressure to accomplish – to summit the mountain, to cross the valley, to accomplish a goal. Directing and coordinating a team to accomplish a goal is part of the core responsibilities of a leader. However if accomplishing goals is our only focus I believe we are missing out on the best part of our leadership role.

The purpose of our leadership is two fold – to accomplish set goals and to develop the people we lead. Often the pressure to accomplish causes leaders to neglect the importance of development on our teams. There are two big reasons why development is so important on your team:

  • Well-developed volunteers are able to produce great results for the organization; they help make a winning team.
  • Development allows volunteers experience some level of lasting impact internally; they are changed for the better.

Development is a gift for the individual, and for the team. The beauty of development is that it both fights for the best for the individual and also helps build long-term commitment to the team. My friend Miles Welch puts it this way, “Volunteers can show up on an org chart under a name, but the person who is developing them is the person who is really leading them.” When you do the hard work of developing people, you are building a bond that is not easily broken…you are creating a long-term contributor for the team.

Here are 3 things I try to keep in mind when it comes to development:

Development Adds Value to the Person – Development first adds value to the person, without immediate payoff for the organization. For each person we lead we are either adding value or extract value. (click to tweet) Extracting value is when we are satisfied with people showing up and doing what they are told. Adding value is when we help people grow and find the place where they can be fully engaged and unleash their full potential. Find ways to add value to a person’s life and it will (in time) add great value to the team.

Development is Transformational in nature – Equipping is transactional in nature – handing over the tools to get the job done. Development is transformational in nature – it creates personal growth within the individual. Development is hard to see in a moment yet is impossible to miss over time. (click to tweet) The evidence of development is transformation – the person actually changes (for the better)!

Develop people for AdvancementThe heart of development is to help people reach their full potential. (click to tweet) Part of that journey involves helping people find their place of maximized effectiveness. We want to help people find their right spot – even if it isn’t on our team. Develop people for advancement whether that advancement means greater responsibility on your team or a transition to a new area.

When you commit to the development process you will end up sending out a number of great team members – but you will also find yourself raising up champions for your team along the way.