Jan 23, 2012

If you are a leader why are you investing all your time in the wrong people?

Dave Kraft in his excellent book Leaders who last says

A leaders greatest assets are the people he influences, one of the real challenges in leadership is to figure out what kinds of people one should be involved with and what amount of time should be invested.

The big mistake Leaders make is to fail to be intentional as to who gets their time. We react to the demands of others rather than pro-actively seeking to develop others.

Kraft argues that there are 5 types of people we interact with in our role as leaders

1. Resourceful people (people who motivate you, inspire you, equip you as a leader)

2. Important people (people who have important roles in the church because they are fellow leaders, occupy positions of responsibility etc. So fellow church officers; Elders, Deacons, Treasurer, ministry area leaders, staff, etc.)

3. Trainable people (men and women who demonstrate potential. Godly, gifted and available people who could lead in the future)

4. Nice people (people who’s company we simply enjoy. They might be encouragers or people with similar personalities with whom we ‘click’.)

5. Draining people (people with needs, often long term, who look to us to help sustain them over a long-term)


I’m not quite sure what the category titles mean (I’ve had a go at filling out the detail next to each title but they are my interpretation rather than his).

The point that Kraft is making is that we need to be deliberate and strategic in who gets our time.

Here are his ‘Seven habits of Highly ineffective Leaders’

1. They spend too much time managing and not enough time leading

2. They spend too much time counseling the hurting people and not enought time developing the people with potential

3. They spend too much time putting out fires and not enough time lighting fires.

4. They spend too much time doing and not enough time planning

5. They spend too much time teaching the crowd and not enough time triaming the core

6. They spend too much time doing it themselves and not enough time doing it through others

7. They make too many decisions based on organisational politics and too few decisions based on biblical principles.

His conclusion

Why is so little time invested in the right kinds of people? The draining and nice people get all the prime time. The resourceful and the trainable get the leftovers.

I strongly suggest that you arrange your life, time, and weekly schedule to be able to invest in trainable people; growing hungry, teachable disciples; and potential leaders.


  • I dunno. It seems wise, but then there’s something quite right about a church being disproportionately full of people with mental illness, physical disability, learning difficulties, elderly, children, non-academic people. When Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep,’ he didn’t say, ‘But careful you don’t give your life for them – they can be awfully needy.’

    There is a wisdom in thinking about these things so that good time is spent to make disciples of all, not just the always urgently demanding ones. But there’s a great danger the other way, too.

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