Leaders Are Developed Not Born

King coronation

Most leadership pundits and professors agree that the true mark of a leader is her ability to develop other leaders. True legacy develops through people, not profits.

No surprise. I believe every reader of this column knows that a requisite of leadership is the development of potential leaders. The key question is "what is the best practice for leadership development?"

Jim Collins (Good to Great) reminds us, "first who, then what."

I don't want to gloss over such an epic epigram. It seems that determining the presence of leadership potential is, in itself, a lifelong study.

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People who can 'do' aren't always good leaders. Sometimes we can damage a career by pushing the mantle too quickly. Advancing someone into leadership should be almost painfully delayed and rarely rushed.

I prefer to hear cries of "what took you so long to promote him?" Obviously, many significant careers have been launched in the heat of a crisis. Battlefield promotions workout sometimes. Often, promotions by necessity end badly.

I've long been an advocate of Leadership Development Programs (LDP). I prefer a structured, formal approach but any program which will consistently crank out leaders is valuable. Please consider the following markers of candidates for selection into a formal LDP.

The candidate:

  • Is an untitled, informal leader. People go to her for help. Even though she doesn't wear a badge, she doesn't need it.
  • Is an active reader and desirous of training
  • Offers ideas and suggestions without being asked
  • Brings solutions to a meeting, not only the problems
  • Has an active prayer life. Leaders need to hear from God.

Let's not leave this subject without considering Samuel's selection of David to serve as king. The Lord told Samuel "do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature ... for the Lord sees not as man sees ..." (1 Sam. 16:7).

We must seek the Lord to determine the heart of a candidate. Samuel rejected seven candidates prior to choosing David to serve. "And the Spirit of the Lord came on David from that day forward" (1 Sam. 16:13).

I hope you have time to read "Greenelines" tomorrow. I will be reviewing a few ideas about "what" to include in any LDP.


"... For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7).

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, here.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.

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