April 25, 2019
Previous Table of Contents Next

DR#: 16 The Leader’s Toughest Challenge: Creating a Climate for Potential Leaders


Developing leadership qualities in others is, most assuredly, the way to ensure success in and the perpetuation of our educational charism. Leadership development can only occur in a positive, safe environment where potential leaders feel comfortable in being and expressing themselves, i.e. in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. The key to any successful mentoring program is, first and foremost, the quality of the mentoring relationship.

Robert Wicks, in his text, Sharing Wisdom: The Practical Art of Giving and Receiving Mentoring, notes that mentoring is basically “sharing our wisdom and seeking out the insights of others within the framework of ongoing relationships...” A similar sentiment is echoed by John Maxwell in his book, Developing The Leaders Around You, when he concludes that “all good mentoring relationships begin with a personal relationship. As … people get to know and like you, their desire to follow your direction and learn from you will increase.”

In a similar vein, mentors also have the responsibility of modeling the leadership qualities they desire their mentees to adopt. As the adage goes, “You must practice what you preach.” Wicks contends that mentors are primarily chosen because of one important quality: respect. He further states that those “offering mentorship are able to foster self-exploration and self-appreciation by the way they treat those who come to them for a listening ear and guidance.” It is crucial to remember that a leader cannot demand of or instill in others what he or she does not demand of or practice him/her self.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of the mentors in the charism to foster such a positive and nurturing environment for his/her mentee if that is the type of leader the mentor wishes to form. As Maxwell concludes, a leader “can impress potential leaders from a distance, but only from up close can he impact them.”

Through this directed reading, the participant will:

  • gain a better understanding of the importance of creating a climate for leadership development;
  • gain a better appreciation of the importance of modeling the right type of leadership;
  • identify the key ingredients to developing a healthy and wholesome mentoring relationship.
  • Maxwell, John C., Developing The Leaders Around You (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), Chapter 2: “The Leader’s Toughest Challenge: Creating A Climate For Potential Leaders,” pp. 17 – 35.
Suggestions for Journal Reflection
  1. Maxwell tells us, “Great leaders share themselves and what they have learned with the learners who will become tomorrow’s leaders.” Reflect on your experiences as a young teacher or administrator in relation to someone who has guided or mentored you. How have these experiences formed you to become an effective educator and leader in the faith?
  1. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart believe that mentoring is one of the ideal ways to prepare potential leaders and educators in the faith. Who are some of the individuals from your life experiences that have come to help you realize your full potential, gifts, and talents as a leader and educator in the faith? How did they provide an atmosphere for this to occur?
  1. What do you feel will be your greatest gift(s) in developing a mentoring relationship of trust and respect? What will be your greatest challenge(s)? How would you guide others to develop such relationships with their future mentees?

 Heavenly Father,

                give us the strength and guidance to commit 
to commit ourselves 
                        to always provide that atmosphere where potential leaders
         can truly grow as educators in the faith.

Following the example and model of the perfect teacher and leader, 
Jesus, your Son, 
                        may we always be that example of one who exhibits
a true personal concern and caring attitude, 
                                 offering our gifts and talents
at the service of our future leaders and educators in the faith.

We ask this, as we ask all things, in Jesus’ name.  


Previous Table of Contents Next