It is one of the tasks of a great leader to vanish.
There are many leadership skills involving our hands: the hand up, the extended hand, the hands on demonstration, the hand on the shoulder and the hand off.
That's right, the hand off with its accompanying attitude of "hands off." It is also called, "the hand over."
In business and ministry, we will find ourselves endlessly serving one task, one location, and one small group of people if we are unable, unwilling, or uninspired to duplicate ourselves and vanish into the woodwork.
Vanishing leadership is real leadership. It mentors, prepares, and duplicates itself in others with the specific goal of giving away a role or task and all the credit and accolades that go with it.
Great leaders are always grooming successors.
By the way, into the woodwork does not mean unavailable for counsel, accountability, and encouragement. It just means that the leader is generous and intelligent enough to know that his or her effectiveness is either severely limited or profoundly enhanced by the willingness and ability to duplicate and vanish.
To develop this idea, let us examine the concepts of "Hands On" and "Hands Off" to ascertain when each is most appropriate in leadership.
We need to keep out hands on a task while we are training new leadership. The extent to which we keep our hands on will be informed by the following factors:
- H - Help is needed in learning skills, concepts, internalizing the mission, and getting the job done at a minimal level.
- A - Assimilation of the philosophy and values of the organization are still in formation.
- N - Negative attitudes, behaviors, and conversational patterns are being "unlearned."
- D - Dependence on the mentor/coach is constant.
- O - Optimum performance comes with close supervision.
- N - Necessity dictates that the tasks be closely monitored for quality assurance.
- H - Help is still needed, but it can be offered more often from a distance and at broader intervals.
- A - Assimilation of philosophy and values is beginning to take hold. The work has moved from head to heart.
- N - Negative factors are less pronounced, easily recognized, and managed.
- D - Delegation of entire projects is taking place.
- O - Optimum performance is enhanced by trust and disengagement.
- F - Formation of a sense of ownership by the new leaders in the organization, its reputation, its future, and its excellence is becoming evident.
- F - Formal recognition of the new leader's leadership abilities and skills has instilled a sense of confidence and accountability.
Each of these requires further explanation and development, but you can get the point. The transference of leadership may be gradual, but it must also be a constant commitment if an organization, ministry, or business is to grow in number and influence.