Amplified Leadership by Dan Reiland is about developing leaders. While it is written with a church audience in mind, the principles and values work in other arenas as well. It deserves a wider audience. He places the development of leaders into a five-step process: Establish a Relationship, Engage a Follower, Embrace a Team, Coach an Apprentice, and finally, Mentor a New Leader. Here are five lessons from his book:
Leaders with character do not set themselves above the people. They roll up their sleeves, get involved, and show the way. Those of us who are leaders are the models, the ones people look to as examples. So we must live in a way that is worthy of the high calling of leadership.
It is often said that true community requires authenticity. But it’s also true that you can’t express authenticity outside of community. Authenticity requires healthy relationships. As a leader, you need a small group of friends, perhaps three to five, who give you absolute permission to be yourself at all times. If you get “off track” in some way, someone in the group will be there to let you know. This increases your ability to be self-aware and improves your comfort level with your true self. This honest and healthy feedback from your circle of friends will give you confidence to express yourself without fear when you are in less familiar territory—a place leaders know all too well.
Great partnerships have a way of purifying leaders’ motives. To make a partnership work, leaders must set their agendas aside (not the vision, but any personal agendas). Wise leaders remain open to new ways of doing things and are gracious enough to accept that things will not always go their way. This is what you have to give up to go up. If you let other strong leaders on the team, they will have differing opinions. And if they are putting great ideas on the table, you would be wise to consider them. You won’t always get the credit or public attention when you participate in a partnership. But receiving credit should not be your goal. In fact, I hope your ministry develops such a strong culture of giving credit away that it becomes second nature for your team members to celebrate other leaders’ contribution over their own.
I’m passionate about mentoring others. That’s what good leaders do. They teach others how to lead. It doesn’t matter if you mentor ten leaders or hundreds in your lifetime. What matters is that you mentor someone. Are you investing in any new leaders? If so, how are you making a difference in their lives? Will someone lead better because of you?
Leaders who are good at developing others make an intentional effort to keep improving personally. They keep the fire inside hot. You may have years of experience and be well beyond the level of the person you are mentoring, but eventually you will have little to offer if you stop growing as a leader. If you don’t keep the fires hot, your “leadership balloon” is going to come down. Do you reinvent yourself? Reinventing yourself is about staying out of a comfort zone. Any leader can fall into this place of comfort if he is not growing, stretching, learning, and changing. It is lethal to a leader when everything is balanced, stable, known, and in pleasant symmetry.
All of these lessons underscore the need for a leader to be able to develop and maintain good relationships. Not only is leadership about relationships, but the ability to maintain good relationships helps to draw a leader outside of themselves and consider the needs and gifts of others. If we are not surrounded by good relationships our leadership quickly narrows down to and stagnates around our own thoughts. Selfish thoughts then rule our decision making.