“A true leader is not someone who can do the work of ten people, but someone who can organize ten people to do the work,” according to Dale Galloway. Why don’t we want to work with a team or together unless only we can be in charge?
Our ego or pride can get in the way. “I don’t need anyone. I know what is best for me and everyone else.” But we can’t do everything, so we need one another. Recall that there are many “one another” verses in the Bible. God created us to be relational beings and we need to allow others into our lives.
Being insecure causes some people to be threatened by others. Insecure people place weak people around themselves because they must have control over what they are responsible for and also for things that are not their responsibility. They may very well fear being replaced by more capable people. Another struggle is inexperience – Some people underestimate the difficulty of achieving big things. Your personality may be you are not outgoing, so you do not try to get others involved. Another personality is being stubborn and demanding of others, so they drive people away. They don’t listen to ideas as they say, “My way or the highway!”
A famous orchestra conductor was once asked what the hardest instrument was to play. His reply was second chair. Second chair is any instrument where the musician is not the lead but essentially following what the lead musician is playing. No one really cared to play the second chair. Everyone wanted to be the lead.
In leadership we essentially struggle with following. It is hard to follow. Yet to have an effective team, you have to have followers who will carry out what the leader has directed. Not everyone can lead at the same time.
In 1 Kings 18 and 19, Elijah was part of a great victory for God over the Baal worshippers. Then Jezebel threatened vengeance on Elijah, throwing him into a terrible depression. God met Elijah in the wilderness and told him to go anoint someone who would not only help Elijah but be his successor. So he found Elisha farming. Elijah placed his cloak around Elisha signifying Elisha would be Elijah’s successor.
Just like in Paul and Barabas’ situation where at first Paul was not the leader of the ministry group, when Elisha joined Elijah, he was not made the successor immediately. Rather he had to follow Elijah for some time, learning from Elijah, faithfully serving the prophet. Eventually Elisha became the prophet of God for over 50 years.
He was an effective replacement for he not only learned from his master but also built upon Elijah’s achievements. In other words, he made Elijah’s ministry much more credible.
It is so easy when being put in charge to do everything differently than the previous leader, making a name for yourself. There are times that needs to be done, especially when the previous leader was not at all effective or had sin issues. If the previous leader had done a good job, faithful to the responsibility, it honors God when we build upon that legacy.
It is hard to hear sometimes how wonderful the previous leader was when you are presently in that position. Yet without that previous leader’s foundation, chances are you would not be doing what you are doing. If the previous leader’s standards were high, out of respect, maintain those levels and even go higher. If the standards were not high, then work to make them high. Do not rip apart or destroy the previous leader’s reputation as you are developing higher standards. Playing second chair is not easy but without you, the musical piece would not sound complete.