“It’s better to put ten men to work than to do the work of ten men.”  D. L. Moody

When I read that quote, it etched itself in my memory as being one of those universal leadership truisms that I would want to apply in everything I undertake as a leader.

Ephesians 4:12 makes it clear that various types of leaders are to equip people for ministry…not do all the work of ministry themselves (refer to Exodus 18 for a good example of this.)

After 43 years of vocational Christian ministry, I have come to understand that some leaders are doers and some have graduated to delegators…having learned to equip and empower others to share the ministry with them rather than, possibly, dying a premature death trying to do everything themselves.

A friend of mine who is an outstanding leader, both in his church and in the market place, recently observed that there is a difference between what he called “workhorses” and “leaders.” 

He elaborated by saying, “Some people can produce a great deal of quality product/output (workhorses) , but they don’t seem to do well in leading a team or setting direction (leaders) .” 

If one of a leader’s primary roles is developing other leaders (which I believe it is), then so- called leaders who don’t equip and empower others for significant ministry are perhaps not truly leaders at all but “workhorses” which is a horse of a different color (pun intended).

My friend went on to note that, as a result of this distinction between “workhorses” and “leaders”, his team is re-evaluating to make sure that their best investment is in the people who will soon be leading their own teams.

When I left a ministry a number of years ago, I was asked to find my replacement.  I had to interview a lot of candidates who were essentially workhorses, before I found one who was truly a “Leader” (committed to equipping and an empowering other leaders).

Here are three questions to ask yourself:

 1. Are you a workhorse or a leader? Look at how you spend your time.

 2. If asked, could you supply the names of 2-3 people you are currently pouring your life and time into as you develop them into leaders?

 3. Is it a value in your church, organization or team to hire/recruit delegators (leaders) or doers (workhorses)?