Leaders Who Go From Good to Great

March 31, 2008

Many good leaders fail to reach their potential and become great leaders. Why?

A variety of answers could be given here.  The easiest one is to say that they reached the level of their skill set and natural ability and should not be expected to go any further.  However, I have known many good leaders who I feel never reached their potential.  I have also known a good number of leaders who achieved greatness in spite of their lack of native ability.

So I have given this some thought, and here is a brief summary of my thoughts.

Most people move from being a good leader to a great leader when the following happens:

  • The clarity of their calling is so crystal clear that it drives their every waking moment.  They ensure that the vast majority of their time is spent making that calling come true. In every aspect of ministry they set their own agenda.
  • They develop networks with great leaders and hang out with them whenever possible.  Too many pastors spend most of their time with people of less leadership skills than they have.
  • They realize a leader can’t give what a leader doesn’t have. So, instead of working themselves to death micromanaging things, they spend unusually large amounts of time on their own spiritual, mental, and physical well being.  They have figured out that it is never how many hours they spend in ministry that counts, but who and what they spend those hours on.
  • They have an uncanny ability to attract and keep other great leaders who resonate with their calling.
  • They realize that success in ministry never depends on how much the leader achieves, but on how much the leader helps others to achieve.
  • The willingness to take the bold, calculated risks that others are unwilling to take or do not see the benefit of.
  • They ascend beyond any boundaries that might hamper their ability to give leadership to the church.  In denominational life, this means figuring out how to circumvent the polity.
  • Great leaders are integrated into the surrounding community and know that in order to reach the lost, ministry has to be indigenous to the surrounding community
  • Great leaders know it is not how much money you have or save, but how strategically you spend what money you do have.
  • Great leaders focus the majority of their time mentoring and coaching potential new leaders rather than developing great programs.

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