Who Taught You How to Be a Leader?

Where does your average person learn how to be a leader these days?

Yes, there are still Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.  There’s Student Government and other organizations in high school and college. Choral groups and sports offer opportunities to lead.  We have bosses in our jobs and pastors in our churches.  Who taught you how to lead?

The Rev. Andrew Foster-Connors is one of the trainers of the intensive NEXT Church Community Organizing Training this week in Baltimore and he asked this question last night:  Where does the average person learn how to be a leader?

Sometimes people “become leaders” because they are the most popular kids or the richest adults or the first person to volunteer.  But our culture is awash in people in leadership roles who have no idea how to . . .

  • Moderate a meeting
  • Build a team
  • Bolster community relationships
  • Identify, mentor, equip, and evaluate future leaders
  • Organize people
  • Organize money
  • Address conflict
  • Listen to constituents
  • Cast a vision

In the Church we preachers often lift up The World As It Should Be when we actually need to live in The World As It Is (with our eyes on The World As It Should Be.)  It’s not enough – if we take following Jesus seriously – to look at injustice in the world and say, “Well that’s just the way it is.

But we need to know how to do more than preach (or listen to) a pithy sermon.  We need to know more than how to make (or listen to) a crisp statement about The World As It Should Be.

We need to know how to lead so that change actually happens.  This is community organizing. And it’s some of what I learned yesterday.

I’d love to hear what you are doing to become a better leader.  For the world to be as it should be, we need you.


Image is Follow the Leader by W. Stanley Proctor, a public art installation in Tallahassee, Florida.


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