7 Ways to Keep a Great Leader on Your Team

Mentoring young leaders is a great way to keep them on your team a little longer.
Mentoring young leaders is a great way to keep them on your team a little longer. (Lightstock )

One of the biggest challenges for any organization is to attract and retain leaders.

I previously posted reasons leaders tend to leave an organization. (Read that post HERE.) The goal then is to find ways to keep a leader energized to stay with the team—so I thought a companion post was appropriate.

I'm writing from the perspective of all organizations but keeping leaders should certainly be a high priority in the church.

I never want to stop someone from pursuing a better opportunity, but I don't want to send them away because I didn't help them stay.

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The reality is that leaders get restless if they are forced to sit still for long. Good managers are comfortable maintaining progress, but a leader needs to be leading change. In fact, leaders even like a little chaos. Show a real leader a problem ready to be solved and they are energized.

Here are a few suggestions to encourage leaders to stay:

1. Give them a new challenge. Let them tackle something you've never been able to accomplish. (Even tell them you're not certain it can be done.) Leaders love to do what others said couldn't. Or that no one has figured out yet. Let the leader be a precursor to what's next for the organization. Let them experiment somewhere you've wanted to go but haven't tried. They may discover the next big thing for the organization.

2. Allow them to explore a specific area of interest to them. Leaders are attracted to environments where they can explore—especially in areas where they have a personal interest or where they want to develop.

3. Mentor them. Invest in them personally. This is huge for younger leaders. They crave it but don't always know how to ask for it. This is not micromanaging. This is helping them learn valuable insight from your experience.

4. Give them more creative time to dream. This is huge. You might keep someone who feels they stifled if you give them more margin in how they spend their time.

5. Don't exhibit fear to them. I've seen this so many times when a senior leader gives other leaders in the organization more responsibility. They micromanage. They ask too many questions before they've had a chance to prove themselves. They try to tell them how to do things. Fear is easily discerned. And, it doesn't communicate you trust them.

6. Reward them. If they are doing well—let them know it. Praise them privately and publicly and compensate them fairly.

7. Allow him or her to help you lead/dream/plan for the organization. Include them in discussions and brainstorming in which they normally would not be included. The more they feel included the more loyal they will be.

Sure, keeping a leader on your team will be a challenge for you as a leader. You will have to stretch yourself to stretch them. But, it's almost always worth it. As they grow, you grow, and the entire organization grows.

Ron Edmondson is the lead pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.

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