One of the easiest ways to learn how to do something is to learn how NOT to do it. Do you know how NOT to develop leaders? Assess your leadership through the lens of these core anti-leadership development principles.

not develop leaders

1. Do It Yourself

If you can do it all, you don’t need anyone else right? Wrong. Everyone will eventually run out of “do it yourself” capacity.

2. Hire more people
If you have too much to do, pay someone else to do it. Wrong again. Many times hiring and hiring more people is a bandaid. The real solution…develop the leaders you already have.

3. Delegate to the nearest warm body
When you are stressed or tired, it’s tempting to assign tasks to anyone available. People don’t just want work to do, they want meaningful, challenging, and relevant opportunities. Delegate according to gifting.

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4. Shun Evaluation
With volunteers, this is easy to do. They don’t want you to evaluate them, right? Wrong.

People hate corrective, punishing, or controlling feedback. They like positive, expected, and developmental feedback (well…maybe not all them do). Rather than telling people what they did wrong, try having clear job descriptions and asking them what went well and how they’d like to improve.

5. Give Tasks, Not Responsibility to Develop Leaders
It’s much easier to give someone a list of tasks than to relinquish control by giving them an area of responsibility. However, tasks are boring and mindless. Try delegating authority and letting your people surprise you with their creativity.

6. Just Throw Them In
Leaders don’t want anyone to train them, they know it all already right? Wrong yet again. Poorly trained leaders become frustrated leaders–Quickly!

7. Leave Things Ambiguous
Constant ambiguity creates stress. Leaders don’t know what they are supposed to do. They don’t know how to do it. Nor do they know how to evaluate their effectiveness. Do this and they’ll quickly become disinterested in your team.

Pursue clarity of roles, expectations, results, process, and even clarity of your impression of their performance.

8. Avoid Letting Them Develop Leaders
This is wrong on many levels. It assumes you are even in control of who they develop.  It also assumes only the leader at the top can oversee people. Let your leaders develop people and pour yourself into equipping them.

9. Assume They Know Themselves
We are all in process. Few people know themselves as well as they should. Simply getting tasks done doesn’t develop people, it uses them. Assessing who you are, how you are growing, and where you need to grow as you complete tasks is transformative.

If you follow these nine tips you’ll successfully find yourself alone, burnt out, and struggling to comprehend why you aren’t retaining talented people.

Avoid these nine tips and you begin not only developing quality leaders, but unleashing a “large team of thoroughbreds” as Dave Ramsey said recently at the Right Now conference in Dallas, TX.

Now go do some unleashing!

Other popular leadership development related post:
12 Challenges to Building a Leadership Pipeline in Your Church
– 25 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor
9 Characteristics of a Leaderless Church

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Brad Bridges is the Vice President of the Malphurs Group, a leadership coach, strategy consultant, blogger at, husband to Lindsey, and father of 3. | @bradbridges | Website