Having sufficient bench depth is crucial for every kind of team. How many times have you seen a star player get injured and then the team can’t win without him? This can happen at all levels of sports and in every kind of business. If you rely too heavily on any one player, you are not in a good position to consistently win in the long run.
Leaders must intentionally give special attention to developing all of their players. It’s the only way for you to have the right talent depth on your bench. All great coaches and leaders do this. There is a wonderful Old Testament passage in Exodus 18 that addresses this very point. I call it “The Jethro Principle”.
When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?… “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out, and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.” (Exodus 18:14, 17-18 NLT)
Now what do you do if the key player is you? If you get all the playing time, that certainly isn’t good for the overall strength and depth of your team. Let’s face it, others on your team may not perform at your level and do things as well as you. But here’s the basic rule of thumb for developing players to step into your shoes. If they can perform at about 80 percent as well as you, it would be worth investing in developing them. The best way to develop them is to give them “playing time in a real game.” In order to do this successfully, you must be secure in yourself as a leader. Insecurity will cause you to feel threatened by the idea of developing someone who could replace you. Only mature and secure leaders can do this.
Let me encourage you to embrace the truth that you are incomplete as a leader. You need other people to complete and compliment you. Once you embrace this fact of life and leadership, you will freely pour yourself into others to make them better. Being secure as a leader is a prerequisite to being able to effectively develop others.
It’s really quite simple: When all your team members get better, your team becomes stronger. As the leader, it’s your job to figure out how to give your players more playing time to help them grow. Just accept the fact they will make mistakes, but if they learn from their mistakes, it will be worth it in the long run. Sufficient bench depth is essential for building a winning team.
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ~ Vince Lombardi