Leadership Focus: A Reminder

What sitting in a recent training session reminded me about my leadership focus.


I have said many times, and I repeat again right now. You never know from where your inspiration for writing will come. For me, over the last two Sunday afternoons, it has come from some Discipleship Training that was hosted by a church near where I live.

The training was for them and for their people. But I got a chance to sit in and observe. I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to the topic. So, I was not expecting to really “learn” anything. Boy, was I wrong!

What did I learn? And how was I wrong?

Truthfully, I didn’t really learn anything radically new or different. Instead, I was able to view the topic of leadership development in much the same way that the presenter was able to view the topic of discipleship. 

How many have ever heard this?

Leadership is not about making followers. It is about making leaders. 

Ralph Nader is quoted as saying it this way: “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” However, many of us get caught up in attracting and developing followers. Many times we count our followers and then go and make a huge deposit in our “Self-Esteem Account.” The training that I attended reminded me once again that my focus is to be on making more leaders and not just making more followers. That is the “What did I learn?”

The end result of the discipleship process that the speaker presented was that those that we discipled would move on and go forward and make more disciples. The discipled became the discipler who creates disciples who then become disciplers. And on and on it goes.

But the “How I was wrong?” is equally important. Again, I already knew this. He just reinforced it again for me. He reinforced that I was wrong to look at my role as a leader in such narrow terms. And I was really wrong to hold on to a process of developing leaders that focuses on me telling them all that I think they need to know to become a great leader. Instead, it put the focus on what he called “Handcrafted Discipleship.” Gone are the days of reading books on how to disciple and sitting in discipleship classes (what many of us grew up calling Sunday School, by the way.) And in its place, he is focused on becoming a “Conversation Catalyst” that disciples in an organic and focused way.

What if . . .

What if we viewed leadership development as passionately as he viewed discipleship? What would that look like? How would I spend my time? With whom would I spend my time? What would I talk about when I was with a follower? Would I see him as potentially becoming a great leader? Or would I be content to have him as a loyal follower?

What if we took the model that I learned over the last two Sunday afternoons and created a model for leadership development that mirrored that process? I bet it would work better than what we are doing now. I bet it would produce more leaders! And after all, isn’t that the goal?

Stay tuned! These last two Sunday afternoons have stretched my thinking more than anything I have experienced in many, many years. It was THAT good! So, stay tuned and walk with me through the implications of that “Handcrafted Discipleship” model as it applies to leadership development.

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Leader -|- Follower -|- Guide

I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

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