An elusive breed of potential leaders

Time after time, I’ve run into people my age or younger who have leadership gifts that remain hidden. I’m not necessarily just referring to the long-established art of unearthing leadership gifts in people and bringing those to light. The part that disturbs me is when young leaders know they have leadership gifts but dodge the mantle of leadership.

“If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously” (Rom 12:8). I firmly believe that those who have leadership gifts have a responsibility. Rather than squander it or suppress it, they need to develop it and practice leading.

Why would people seek to bury their leadership gifts? There are lots of reasons I’m going to dig into over the next few posts. Before I do that, we should agree on what a reluctant leader is.

The internet is a goldmine. Of all places, I found a wonderful article from the Natural Science Department at Manatee Community College in Bradenton, FL. Perhaps in scouring the world for new and endangered species, they discovered the reluctant leader. Check out this quote from Dr. Anthony and Crystal Gambino’s essay: “Untapped Potential: In Search of the Reluctant Leader.”

There exists an elusive breed of potential leaders. Most of these potential leaders will go unnoticed; very few will ever reach their leadership potential. They serve out of view and live in the shadows of others. It is this existence, in the shadow, that will serve them well if they are found and developed into the leaders they could be. The question is how do you find such a potential leader, one that does their job, but gives the credit to those who they helped. They help others reach their potential by gently pushing from behind with words of encouragement. This potential leader should lead, but is reluctant to do so mainly because they see leaders as those who assign the work and then take the credit. In their mind this is the last thing they want to become. Finding a reluctant leader will take a keen eye for observation, nurturing with patience, equipping with knowledge and developing the future leader over time. Tapping into this untapped potential will be a personal investment with a high rate of return.

What are your reactions? Anything stand out to you?

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