Out of the blue, this leadership quote jumped into my world. It wasn’t a new quote, but one I heard a long time ago. Like an old man hiding money under his mattress, I stuck it in the notes section of my address book under the man who said it.
Keep in mind, I love leadership quotes and collect them like a kid collects baseball cards. If you follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, you might think I drank the leadership quote Kool-Aid. When I heard this quote—I didn’t want to lose it—so I stored it there for safe keeping.
This quote is extraordinary. So, when I stumbled upon it today, it caused me to swim through a flood of memories.
When I was 15, the author of this quote stepped into my life. Over the years, he pressed hard to conform me to the image of Christ, sanding away at my rough edges. His life and leadership were impactful, motivating, and life-changing.
The magic isn’t in the quote; it’s in the principles and practices that came out of it. Here are a few that made an impact on me:
Leaders create leaders
Obviously, leaders create followers, but great leaders create leaders. To create leaders, we must be a leader; we can’t create what we aren’t. Apples don’t fall far from the tree. Kind reproduces after its kind. If we’re a level 1 leader, we’ll create followers. If we’re a level 5 leader, we’ll create leaders.
“As leaders, we will all reproduce who we are.” – Dave Ferguson
Bootstraps don’t make leaders
Great leaders aren’t self-grown; they have people in their lives that teach, challenge, and hold them accountable. They continue to learn, listen, and grow their character. Great leaders aren’t those who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.
“A successful leader knows that he helps his followers most by helping them discover their special giftedness, encouraging them to develop it, and then discipling them to use it.” – John Maxwell
Leadership shouldn’t be lonely
Leadership is a people business, and genuinely great leaders love growing leaders. Having other leaders in our life is indeed a “cradle to grave” principle. If you hear someone say it’s lonely at the top, it’s because they don’t have other:
- Leaders above them (mentors)
- Leaders alongside them (accountability partners)
- Learning leaders below them (mentees)
Leaders do for others
Want to know the depth of a leader? First, look at the quality of the leaders they have reproduced. Second, look at the quantity of the leaders they have influenced. This combination exposes the legacy of great leaders because great leaders are reproducers. We need to create a thirst in others for growing their leadership skills.
“Leaders that attract leaders are the leaders you want to keep.” – Andy Stanley
So, what is the quote?
“God, if you would let me spend the rest of my life
doing for other potential young leaders
what the people in my church have done for me,
I will be happy!” – Mike Calhoun
After reading the quote over several times, I realized that I have been able to spend my life doing for others what one man did for me. Is your leadership doing for others what someone has done for you?
You can find out more about the awesome author of this great quote here: https://mikecalhoun.org/
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