Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Why the Church Should Be Developing Leaders for the General Marketplace and How to Do It

I’ve been a leader in the church, in a Fortune 50 organization and in industry learning and IT organizations. I was recently thinking back to how I learned to be a leader.
I got my undergraduate degree in Business Administration, but those classes and experiences really didn’t prepare me to be a leader. Before graduating from college, I was the manager of more than sixty part-time cleaners, and responsible for the cleaning in multiple buildings for a contract cleaning company. It was there that I first began to learn how to manage, but not lead, and there is a difference. In that job, I was responsible for hiring, firing, quality control, meeting with the customer, etc. I pretty much learned on the job. I didn’t read any books or take classes on how to do that. I look at managing as controlling and maintaining something that is already in place. Leading has to do with establishing and casting a vision, and influencing followers to come along with you.
When I joined a large insurance company as a management trainee, I went through an extensive training program, including leadership courses. Then, for the first time, I worked with Mel, who would become my career mentor and later a good and trusted friend. Mel, was a Christian believer who let his faith come through in his leadership. He instilled in me leadership philosophies that I still rely on to this day. But I never received any leadership training from the churches I attended; that would have helped me in my primary vocation. And you would think that would be a great place to learn leadership. Shouldn’t the local church be helping to develop leaders in all spheres (church, business, sports, non-profit, home, etc.)? The church should be instilling the character needed, as well as the competence needed for leaders.
Harry Reeder, author of 3D Leadership: Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian Leaders Who Can Change the World, writes: “Christ-centered, gospel-saturated and Spirit-filled churches need to embrace the opportunity to once again become “Christian leadership factories,” whereby the church defines Christian leadership, develops Christian leaders, and deploys them into the world.” He goes on to write “A church that defines leadership should not only develop Christian leaders for the church through gospel evangelism and discipleship but also develop Christian leaders from the church who are then deployed into the world to penetrate every sphere and institution of society.” I couldn’t agree more. But how do we do that? Continue reading


6 Keys to Successful Leadership Development

Maxwell QuoteI have the privilege to work and mentor with several talented people who are pursuing formal leadership positions. As I work with them to prepare to compete for those positions I have found there are six keys to successful leadership development:

  1. Consistently strong performance. Bottom-line, before you can even think about moving into a leadership position, you need to be doing excellent work and delivering strong results in your current assignment. You need to be a top performer. If you aren’t a strong performer at this time, stop here, don’t read on. You need to become a strong performer and role model, striving for continuous improvement, before pursuing a formal leadership position.
  1. Diversity of experiences. A leader I know often talks about “depth and breadth” when reviewing an emerging leader’s experiences. I think that’s a good way to describe what I want to communicate here. You should have a diversity of experiences to prepare you for a leadership position. Look for those assignments and experiences in which you will be able to demonstrate your leadership and get results through others. If you can’t get results through others, you are what Marcus Buckingham refers to as an “individual contributor”, not a leader.
  1. Work with multiple leadership mentors to help you grow in different facets of leadership. You might want to read and discuss leadership books with them. The mentee should drive the relationship, so have a plan when you approach someone to mentor you. You should also demonstrate your leadership by mentoring others. So be a mentee and a mentor.
  1. Self-awareness. Learn about yourself through asking for feedback and taking assessments such as Strengthsfinders, StandOut and Myers-Briggs. I have found these assessments to be extremely helpful to learn about myself and about those I work with and mentor. Some of these same folks have provided input for this article.
  1. Continuing Education. Be a lifelong learner and model continuous learning, and then apply what you are learning. Read good leadership and personal development books, and consider advanced degrees and designations in your particular field. Get involved in the professional organization aligned to your field. Continue to grow yourself and in turn you will increase your competitiveness for a leadership position.
  1. Leadership presence. With this one, I always say it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it – or you don’t. How are you perceived when you walk into the room, when you are attending or presenting in a meeting. Do others see you as a leader?

These are six keys that I have found for successful leadership development. Do you agree? Do you have others to add?