Why We Don’t Have Enough Good Leaders and What to Do About It

Why We Don’t Have Enough Good Leaders and What to Do About It

Dan Black

Are you a leader? If you’re anything like me, you’ll say no.

Unfortunately, in our culture, saying you’re a leader or even that you aspire to be is seen as a negative thing. We’ve come to equate the power-hungry, the arrogant, and the unscrupulous with leadership. That’s unfortunate, because we don’t have as many quality leaders as we need. When elections roll around, we groan because we have so few good options. But the impact of a negative view of leadership extends beyond politics.

One of the consequences of a negative view of leadership is we fail to recognize our own potential.


At our church’s women’s retreat, one of the women told me she saw me as a leader.  That wasn’t surprising considering I lead Bible studies and have been in charge of numerous programs over the years. What was surprising is that I didn’t see myself that way.

I have internalized the idea that it’s not ladylike or appealing to seek leadership. I’ve just allowed myself to “fall into” the role, so I can’t be accused of being one of those aggressive people no one likes.

While my negative attitude hasn’t kept me out of leadership, it has kept me from developing my leadership potential. I haven’t worked to develop as a leader. I haven’t fully considered the impact of what I say and do on the people I lead (even if only by example). I’ve certainly experienced the consequences of this. I started a small group Bible study years ago without any leadership education. I believe that I could have prevented some serious problems that developed, had I thought of myself as a leader from the beginning.

A second consequence of a negative view of leadership is we fail to raise children as potential leaders.

At one time, my strong-willed son expressed an interest in a political career. It didn’t take long for the media to beat that idea out of him. But I didn’t help. Deep down, I assumed that in order to succeed in politics, my son would have to lack character. Rather than training him in what it means to be a godly leader, I just hoped the interest would go away and it did.

If we aren’t really clear on what a leader is, how will our children understand?

We can raise up a generation of godly leaders with education.

When I first read Dan Black’s blog On Leadership, I wondered what I was reading it for. Not only was I not a leader, but I wasn’t interested in leadership. Dan must have been inspired by the Holy Spirit, because he kept interacting with me through my blog and Twitter and I was impressed. He was really behaving like a godly leader and he was so young!

The more I read, the more I realized that studying leadership wasn’t much different than the personal development material I pore over. The only difference is intention. Leaders develop themselves so they can serve others. That was a completely different definition of leadership than the one I was operating from. I started paying more attention to what Dan wrote.

When I read his new book, The Leadership Mandate {affiliate link}, I felt I finally understood what it meant to be a leader. Of course, it has nothing to do with the talking heads on TV! I realized that I needed to teach my children the principles in Dan’s book so they would be willing to lead as the Lord calls them and would know how.

We can raise up a generation of godly leaders by developing as leaders ourselves.

The Leadership Mandate isn’t just a book describing good leadership; it’s a book that suggests how to live it out. There are action steps for each aspect of leadership. What’s even more important to me than the specific steps is the new attitude this book has helped me adopt. I’m not living for me; I’m living to serve others! Whatever I choose to do is an example to others for good or evil.

Embracing my leadership potential has been very freeing. I don’t feel I have to hide it. Instead, I can focus on how to help people using what the Lord has been teaching me.

That is the mandate for every Christian — to love others — is it not? I hope you will read The Leadership Mandate
and will join me in developing your leadership skills and raising up a next generation of leaders. If you get the book this week (beginning 9/30/13), Dan is offering some free bonuses. Make sure you check them out!

Do you think of yourself as a leader? Why or why not?

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