Spotting a New Leader

Ten ways to identify a promising person to take on guidance of small-group ministry.

The most gifted athletes rarely make good coaches. The best violinist will not necessarily make the best conductor. Nor will the best teacher necessarily make the best head of the department.

So it's critical to distinguish between the skill of performance and the skill of leading the performance, two entirely different skills.

It's also important to determine whether a person is capable of learning leadership. The natural leader will stand out. The trick is identifying those who are capable of learning leadership over time.

Here are several traits to help identify whether someone is capable of learning to lead.

10 Signs of Potential

1. Leadership in the past. The best predictor of the future is the past. When I was in business, I took note of any worker who told me he was superintendent of a Sunday school or a deacon in his church or a Boy Scout leader. If he showed leadership outside of the job, I wanted to find out if he had some leadership potential on the job.

2. The capacity to create or catch vision. When I talk to people about the future, I want their eyes to light up. I want them to ask the right questions about what I'm talking about.

The founder of Jefferson Standard built a successful insurance company from scratch. He assembled some of the greatest insurance people by simply asking, "Why don't you come and help me build something great?"

A person who doesn't feel the thrill of challenge is not a potential leader.

3. A constructive spirit of discontent. Some people would call this criticism, but there's a big difference in being constructively discontent and being critical. If somebody says, "There's got to be a better way to do this," I see if there's leadership potential by asking, "Have you ever thought about what ...

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