How to Make Someone Else a Better Leader 09 How To Pick a Leader

  • Is this person compatible with you? I mean it, someone might have great character and great capability, but if they are incompatible with you then you will not be able to help them develop as a leader. Someone might have the character to be a great elder, the capability to be a great elder, but if they cannot be an elder that embraces the values of Tree of Life, our philosophy, the things we emphasise, the way we do things, then I will not consider appointing, promoting, mentoring or training that person. If someone is not committed to doing things your way and flowing with you, there is nothing you can do to make them a leader. At all. Ever. No exceptions. No, not even one. No, not even that person. I know they are gifted but that is not enough. (I am assuming you know how things are done around where you are, and I am hoping it has been written down in some way!)
  • Is the person growing? Are they moving in the right direction? Are they reading? Are they developing? Can you see them grow? Can you see them making good choices to help them grow – are they in church consistently, what is the weakest excuse they have ever given you for missing church, will they be at Heal the Nations or whatever conference you run, or are they doing their own thing? Are they committed to growth?
  • Do I have a nagging doubt? Trust your instincts, and trust me it is easier to wait a few months to see what happens and appoint later than appoint quick and then try and un-appoint someone. Take the time to spend time with the person, see if you can catch them under fire – that is always a good time to learn about someone. What do they do when you are under fire, that’s another great learning time! Ask another leader their opinion of them. And always ask a woman’s opinion before appointing a leader. They see things men don’t!
  • Does this person have any strengths or just “no weaknesses”? One of the mistakes new leaders make is they appoint leaders because they have no weaknesses, but the problem is they have no strengths either, they are just average at everything, so they do an average job and the level of the church or ministry or company then slides down to the level of average, to mediocre, to “ok”. We are not in the business of ok, we are in the business of awesome!
    • Peter Drucker, the management consultant, shares a story about Abraham Lincoln who lost a number of battles because he appointed generals who had no weaknesses but no strengths either. THe Confederates on the other hand had great weaknesses, but had remarkable strengths. They were winning until Lincoln chose Ulyseese Grant, an alcoholic but a remarkable leader. I’m not saying appoint an alcoholic as an elder but make sure the person has some strengths!
    • China used to always dominate table tennis. Marilyn Hickey went to China and met the winning team. They were winning every event easily. She asked the coach how to do deal with their weaknesses and train their weaknesses, the coach said “we don’t, we work on their strengths and that is what makes them unbeatable!”
  • Does the person fit into your team? Does he have chemistry with you and the people in the team? I ask myself if I was due to have dinner with this person in the evening, would I be excited or concerned all day. We need teams of people who get along! We need chemistry in our teams! It’s obvious in football, but it’s the same in the church. Also does the person have complementary skills? You might have the three best strikers in the world, but you still need a good defender, a good goalie and so on! It’s the same in the church.

Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at, and

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