Many years ago, I was leading a small group at our church. The small group Pastor at that church was always agonizing over and complaining about not finding enough leaders to lead small groups.
One week, I had to be away on business and asked a guy who would not normally be considered as a candidate for leadership to lead the group. He was kind of quiet and often held back his viewpoint because there were others in the group that were smarter and “wiser” than he. (I found out he felt this way after he led the group).
He led the group masterfully! So much so that people in the group were saying, “where did that come from?!” (Referring to his leadership gifts).
My observation is that his leadership gifts were overlooked based on existing leadership and assumptions that were made about who he was or was not. This often happens when existing leadership overshadows potential leadership.
Potential leadership gets stuck, rotting away behind the shadow of the current leadership. Since they are not as flamboyant, not as outspoken, not as domineering, and not as obvious; they are overlooked.
As leaders, we need to be more diligent about finding potential leaders by getting them out of the shadows. As Servant Leaders, we get them out of the shadows by trading places…putting ourselves in the shadows and them in the limelight.