You Can't Be a Great Leader Until You Learn to Be a Great Follower

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Everyone leads someone. Whether you realize it or not, the way you live your life is influencing someone right this moment. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon how you are living your life. Whether you are a parent, a teacher in a classroom, a manager in a company, an employee, or a friend to someone, you are leading people. You and I have a choice--we can either be bad leaders or we can be good ones. Great leadership is determined by character, not training or education.

You can't be a great leader unless you are being led yourself. When God called Moses to lead his people in Exodus 33:15, Moses bluntly tells God,“If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." In this present culture it is critical that we lead not out of our own experience, training, or understanding, but simply under the leading and direction of God himself. The stakes are too high in the lives of those we are called to lead to do it on our own. Putting God at the helm of our leadership will bring his favor upon our efforts as it did with Moses. Of all the things he could have asked the Lord for, he asked for his presence. So God said, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Let him lead you and you will lead others well. This is what separates the great leaders from the bad. Great followers make the best leaders.

You can read more about transformational leadership in my book Practical Thoughts on Pastoral Leadership.

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