I was recently asked this question:

Dave, is every leader supposed to be, and expected to be, a leader of leaders?

This question really got me thinking.

I’m in the process of reflecting on my experiences up to this point in working at developing leaders for over 40 years now.

These are not my final words or thoughts on that provoking question but, rather, where I’m at in this moment.

I believe that in any group, organization or company you’ll find both workers and leaders. Both are essential. We need workers to simply do the work and we need leaders who can oversee what’s being done.

Among the workers we’ll discover over time that some of them have the ability to oversee the work of others. I think it’s unrealistic that every worker will, at some point, oversee others. Some simply are not wired, gifted that way and are quite happy and content  to use their gifts they do have to get things done.

Other workers might be able to oversee the work of others but aren’t ready or motivated in doing so for a variety of reasons (maybe later).

Among the workers there will be potential leaders who can and want to oversee the work of others and can do so with excellence if they’re developed and can learn how to do it.

Some of the leaders may not only be able to oversee one or more workers but have the gift(s) and capacity to oversee another leader who is overseeing workers. This, then, would be a leader of leaders.

Now back to the original question:

Is every leader supposed to be and expected to be a leader of leaders?

At this point in time, I’d say no. However, every real leader should be leading workers and keeping an eye open for future leaders. It’s the mission of a leader to not just have more followers but to develop more leaders.

If you’re a leader, you should be looking among the workers you currently lead and see if some (not all) are potential leaders in whom you can invest.

As they begin to lead, some of them will demonstrate that they can lead leaders in addition to leading workers and some (not all) of the leaders of workers will be able to lead leaders.

Gifting, circumstances, capacity, season of life will all come into play.

So, we need all three:

  1. Workers
  2. Leaders of workers
  3. Leaders of leaders

We don’t want a worker or leader to be promoted above their God-given assignment. Now, if we’re talking about disobedience or laziness, that’s a whole other discussion.

In the context of a  local church, here’s another set of questions to wrestle with.

1.  Should every professing Christian be expected to be a “Disciple?”

2.  Should every disciple be a disciple-maker?

3.  Should some disciple-makers be leaders of disciple-makers?

“Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying not to be something we aren’t.” Romans 12:5,6 The Message

What do you think? Love to hear from you on this intriguing question.