Develop Leaders

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Over the past few years I have noticed a shift in my focus on leadership. As my own leadership has grown, I find myself looking for ways to help others.

This does not mean that everything I do has provided excellent results. Nor have my efforts been error free. But, as I have learned to start developing young leaders around me, and as leaders around me have done the same, I have noticed one thing.

Leadership education happens in a classroom. Leadership development happens through experience.

Educating leaders is not an unworthy task. In fact, as I talked about here, I believe leaders should develop a habit of consistent learning. So, there is a definite place for the classroom in leadership development.

However, knowledge of a subject does not lead to experience in the subject. We cannot neglect real world leading as a teaching tool if we desire to develop leaders.

Each summer over the past four years I have taken a group of students on a leadership trip. The trip is very education focused, and it serves a great purpose. But only recently have I started understanding the importance of giving these student leaders opportunities to lead.

Then, when students (or adults), have an opportunity to lead, they grow. And that’s my goal–to develop leaders.

Develop leaders, don’t just educate them.


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The 3 Questions and Growth

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If you’re reading this, let me start today by saying thank you. I appreciate you reading, thinking, sharing, and participating. I started this blog with one basic premise: I think there may be something to the 3 questions I have started asking myself to help me grow as a leader.

What are the 3 questions? Well, when I walk into a room (or find myself leading an event), I ask:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

If you’re new, you can click here to read the original series of posts introducing and explaining the 3 questions.

Disclaimer: This is not an effort to toot my own horn, but let’s be honest–there’s a level of self indulgence that comes with writing a blog (probably my biggest struggle with continuing to write and post).

I am constantly amazed at how when I ask myself the three questions in most situations, I am immediately presented with an opportunity to grow, especially as it comes to that tricky third question.

It’s risky to ask someone for help. It’s natural to fear a no. It’s easier to do it myself. It’s less revealing of my shortcomings when I’m the only one who realizes how poorly I plan. It’s comfortable to stay where we are and never grow.

But, once again, let’s be honest: leaders who never grow, never last.

Too extreme? Maybe, but I know I am not going to find satisfaction unless I am willing to push my own leadership limits and encourage those around me to do the same thing.

What about you? What are you building into your life and routine that regularly challenges you to grow? Is it working?


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Check It Out – Turn the Faucets On

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I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur, mainly because I have never started an outside business. So today’s link may seem a little strange.

But, if you fancy yourself an entrepreneur, or are even intrigued by the idea, this short article by Jon Acuff is worth the read.

Here’s a taste:

“The best time to build a new business is when you don’t need it to support your family.”

(Read more at The simple secret to being a successful entrepreneur.

Even if you’re not interested in building a new business or making more money, you can learn something from the read. Sometimes, growing in leadership means looking at something that may not apply and learning from it anyway.



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The Why Means More Than The What

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Today I’m going to go out on a limb. I do not know if this is a solid leadership principle, or just something that’s true in my life, but here we go.

Sometimes, the why behind a decision carries more weight than the what.

I do not believe in doing things just for the sake of doing something. Instead, I try to think through reasons and make the best choice moving forward.

In the same way, a well thought out reason for doing something, even if I don’t agree with it, speaks to me more than a blind mandate.

The principle is simple: think about what you’re doing, don’t just do it. This does not negate reflexes or instincts, but it means count the cost. You will not be able to foresee every possibility, but having a solid reason to answer the “why” question is a necessity.

As a leader, I want those I lead to know I have put thought into an idea, a thought, a program, or whatever else.

Now, I want to hear from you! Do you agree or disagree? Do you perform better when you know thought has been put into a decision? Comment below and let me know.


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Trust the Process, A Follow-Up

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Okay, let me clarify a little from Tuesday’s post, especially for my friend at Red Phog (follow him on Twitter here).

With any process, there is one major variable to keep in mind: context matters.

Context is everything, especially in leadership. As we lead people, we understand that no two people are the same, and that everyone responds in a unique way.

I have served at five different churches over my time in ministry. No body of believers is the same. My roles at each church have varied based on the needs of the church.

What worked at one place may not work at another because you’re dealing with a new set of people, a new cultural context, and a new set of experiences.

For example, at my current church we take a short service trip over Spring Break and it is very well attended. At my last church, the majority of families traveled over spring break, so the same trip would not have worked as well.

Context matters. Be careful to blindly institute a process without first understanding the context in which you’re serving.

But sometimes, with experience and evaluation of the situation, it’s okay to trust the process.

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