One of the the best things a leader can do is multiply himself via the lives and leadership of others. When you raise someone up, the entire idea is to RELEASE things into her hands, and allowing the student to now run her own race as a teacher. But too often we get this wrong and instead of passing a baton, we end up like Saul, who threw javelins at his successor (see 1 Samuel 19:10 for that crazy story).
Even if you’re not trying to kill somebody, it’s possible you’re hurling javelins instead of passing batons. And this isn’t just for when you’re finished leading and ready to hand off your position or office, this matters for tasks and responsibilities large and small.
Here’s a few questions to help you honestly evaluate how you are doing at the all-important hand-off:
Javelin: Do your instructions sometimes send someone so far into left field they can’t really see where you’re coming from?
Baton: Do you make sure someone has a firm grasp on what you are communicating, asking, or delegating before you release your own grip?
Javelin: Do you generally work independently from your team members, then later just tell them what you did?
Baton: Do you work alongside your team, at points touching the assignments/tasks/projects at the same time as them?
Javelin: Do you make receiving your leadership (catching javelins) a dangerous concept? Could your team members be harmed emotionally, physically, spiritually, or relationally by going after the goals you’ve set?
Baton: Is the safety of your team truly important to you? Through appropriate goal setting, do you invest in their health – emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally?
You’re probably getting the idea now. We could continue the metaphor for awhile, but I’ll let you do that on your own.
It’s so easy to say “pass the baton” but it’s harder to actually do well. Let’s be intentional leaders that master the art of a proper hand-off.