Learn to Lead

Learn to Lead 2020-02-22T13:56:30-06:00

Taking the first steps to learn about leadership can be overwhelming. There are so many books, materials and conferences available that you may have no idea where to start. Allow me to offer both a framework (adapted from Bill Hybels) and some initial resources so you can begin your lifelong journey of leadership in an efficient and well-rounded manner.


A Leadership Development Plan

1. Lead something. You will never get better at leadership if you aren’t regularly in the trenches leading. You don’t have to be a CEO to lead. You can start by leading a small project or group at work, a non-profit organization or your church.


2. Read about leadership. Leaders are readers. The first four books I recommend (in order) for people just starting to understand leadership are listed below:

– The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. In the opinion of many, this is the best introductory leadership book out there. 

– The Way of the Shepherd by Kevin Lehman and William Pentak. This is the best book available on leading and managing people. A very quick, but powerful read.

– Leading Change by John Kotter. If you are a leader, you will lead change. This is the best book on this topic available. If you don’t care for all the business talk, check out its non-business cousin, Our Iceberg is Melting.

– Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley. This is a quick, fantastic read that covers the basics of solid vision casting to create passion in those you lead.

If you are looking for an introductory book that covers Christian leadership principles, the best I’ve found is Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders (the updated version).


3. Go where leadership is taught. There are many leadership conferences, webcasts, and other venues available. The one I’ve been attending every year for over a decade is the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. It’s a can’t miss 2 day leadership event attended by over 200,000 business and church leaders that is held in hundreds of cities across North America in early August. It is faith-based, but thousands from the secular arena attend.  


4. Get a leadership mentor.  Find someone who is ahead of you in a certain aspect of leadership and pick his or her brain for “pearls”. Troubleshoot your last leadership adventure, good or bad, and ask for honest “punch in the gut” feedback about your leadership. This doesn’t have to be a long term relationship; you can ask different people to speak into your leadership life at various phases of your development. Most people would be honored that you respected them enough to seek their input.


This plan, applied over a number of years, will develop you into the kind of leader that will positively impact those you lead and love. But remember, the leaders who have the most impact aren’t leaders who lead followers. Those with the highest impact lead and develop other leaders. Please send this link on to others who may benefit and then explore the leadership pages and resources listed below.