How to Attract Leaders Who Are Better Than You

How to Attract Leaders Who Are Better Than You

This week I’m sharing leadership lessons I’ve picked up from North Point Community Church.

The Drive Conference is a leadership incubator and being a partner church of North Point has helped our team see and experience world class leadership development up close.

After yesterday’s post about what I learned from North Point on team alignment, I want to share another defining characteristic of North Point’s leadership: how to attract leaders who are better than you are.

North Point has done this so well. Andy Stanley is one of the best communicators and leaders in the world, but his bench goes deep – very deep.

For 11 years, he worked with Reggie Joiner, a world class leader in his own right who leads the now-global Orange movement designed to help churches and families partner together to influence the next generation. (Hint, if you haven’t registered for next month’s Orange Conference in Atlanta, do so now. It too is a world-class leadership incubator). While Reggie is one of the best examples of Andy’s ability to attract and work with exceptional leaders, he is not the only example.

At North Point (and at Orange) you run into dozens of people who could be running very large organizations of their own but who have chosen to work as a team together. In many respects, I feel the same way about our team at Connexus.

Everybody else could be working for someone else and be making a huge impact there. So how do you get them to work with you?

As Andy often says, he’s the leader because he was first. Andy honestly believes there are other leaders who are better than him in many roles at North Point.  It’s an incredibly humble stance, and it’s allowed Andy to assemble a top rate team.

In my almost 7 years around North Point culture, here’s what I’ve learned about attracting leaders who are better than you are:

1. Deal with your insecurities. Insecure leaders will always feel threatened by people they think are ‘better’ than they are. Get counselling. Get coaching. Do what you need to do. Realize you have greater value to any organization if you can assemble a great team than if you want to be the team. Don’t cap your organization’s growth or mission because you are insecure.

2. Give away responsibilities, not just tasks. When you trust your team, it ushers in the opportunity for greatness. If everything has to cross your desk, you will only ever lead a small organization (because your desk isn’t that big). Make fewer decisions every year. And get people who make better decisions than you do.

3. Share the spotlight. If you have to be front and center all the time, you have a problem. Pushing other people into the spotlight is the hallmark of great leadership. Study both Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner on this by the way. They are both incredible at it.

4. Make it your job to help them succeed. What if you stopped trying to win and actually just spent your time trying to help other people succeed? If you do that, by the way, you might just end up being a little more successful too.

5. Create a culture of freedom. The reason many leaders are afraid to release leaders in freedom is because they haven’t done the tough work of aligning the organization. If you have a highly aligned team (here are five thing I’ve learned about team alignment from North Point), you can release them to do what they are called to do. High capacity leaders do not like to be controlled.

That’s what I’m learning about attracting leaders who are better than you.

What insights would you add? What are your struggles when it comes to attracting high capacity leaders?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=823360136 Eric Sun

    Ridiculously awesome post, Carey.

    Testimonies of not only
    success, but also of God faithfulness in our failures in a corporate
    setting are a great way to creating a culture of freedom and incarnating
    a place for “no condemnation in Christ Jesus”.

    • cnieuwhof

      Thanks Eric. I was just talking with a key Willow Creek staffer about this at dinner last night. One of the things I most admire about Bill Hybel’s leadership is his ability to say “I was wrong/We were wrong” and let the whole church benefit from his failure. A very compelling (and rare) leadership trait. Of course, it’s also a key element of his near four decades of successful leadership.

  • cnieuwhof

    Joe…great point. That has been a big learning point for me over the years. Thank you!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Don’t discourage failure.

  • Asdrubal Hernandez

    Agreed! Well done…..! Thank you for this!