youth worker, youth ministry, leadership

Leadership: For Better or Worse

By Doug Franklin July 19, 2012

Throw a rock into a pond.  What happens?  The water moves outward from the entry point in a series of concentric ripples.  The bigger the rock, the wider the resulting circle.  Similarly, the influence of leaders extend far beyond themselves.  Like ripples in the water their impact moves from people close to them, to people further away, and to people on the perimeter.  Leaders in key positions impact people they don’t know personally.  Moreover, their impact may continue on beyond their own lifetime.

Unfortunately, not all leaders are good leaders.  Some are downright terrible examples.  For better or worse, leaders impact their followers.  There are 2 specific reasons for this truth.

First, followers rely on their leaders.  Leaders provide direction for the team.  They cast the vision by painting a clear and exciting picture of a preferred future.  Furthermore, leaders position followers within the team where they can make their best contribution.  As the mission is underway, followers depend on leaders for support and guidance.  Ultimately, followers experience the effects of a leader’s decisions.  For example, the followers of King David experienced the privileges of his faithfulness during his rise to power; but they also lived through the hardships caused by his sin during his fall from power.  The fortunes of followers rise and fall with those of their leaders.

Second, followers become like their leaders.  It’s amazing how we tend to become like the people with whom we spend the most time.  Unconsciously we adopt their phrases, hobbies, beliefs, and much more.  Whether we realize it or not, we learn how to lead from those who lead us.  Knowing this truth, we can become more conscious of what we are learning about leadership from our leaders.  Therefore, adopt the positive character qualities and leadership conduct of effective leaders.  Furthermore, avoid the negative character traits and conduct of ineffective leaders.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More