April 25, 2019
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DR#: 20 The Leader’s Lifelong Commitment: Developing Potential Leaders


Chapter Six of John C. Maxwell’s book Developing The Leaders Around You is entitled “The Leader’s Lifelong Commitment: Developing Potential Leaders,” and in that chapter’s opening lines he contends that “the growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership” (p. 111). Maxwell’s then spends the next two dozen pages making his point that those institutions that move from “good” to “great” are those with leaders willing to invest time and talent in the development of future leaders for that institution.

In the two chapters that precede this one, Maxwell addresses the issues of nurturing and equipping potential leaders. Here he stresses that the truly great leaders are the top one percent who will expend the effort necessary to develop other leaders in their organizations into men and women ready to assume top leadership themselves. Maxwell’s belief is that few leaders actually become developers of other leaders because of the extraordinary commitment needed to accomplish that task. He offers a 12-step process for the development of potential leaders including such varied topics as “Be a Good Listener,” “Develop a Plan for Personal Growth,” “Give Them Varied Experiences,” and “Strive for Excellence.”

Like the rest of his book, Maxwell’s Chapter Six is simple and direct. He outlines a clear, sequential process for leadership development. His examples, drawn from a variety of sources including some of his real life experiences, serve to illustrate his points with common sense and practical know-how.

Through this experience, participants will:

  • understand the correlation between an institution’s long-term health and its ability to nurture a new generation of leaders;
  • gain an understanding of the importance of a personal growth plan;
  • gain an understanding of several important steps in the development of leaders.
  • Developing The Leaders Around You, by John Maxwell, Chapter Six: “Developing Potential Leaders.”
Options for Additional Readings
  • Good to Great, James C. Collins (Harper Collins Publishers, 2001)
  • The Leadership Challenge, James K. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner (Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, 2003)
Suggestions for Journal Reflection
  1. Maxwell’s opening paragraph in Chapter Six states: “If you have done the things I’ve discussed so far in this book — created a great environment, nurtured your people, and equipped the best people around you — your achievements have already surpassed those of the majority of managers in the work force today. You can consider yourself a better-than-average leader. If you go no further, though, you will never become a great leader. No matter how hard or how smart you work, you will never become one of the best of the best. Why? Because the very best leaders, the top 1 percent, take their people the next step and develop them so they can reach their potential. The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” (p. 111) Given Maxwell’s statement, how would you categorize yourself as a leader, good or great? Specifically, why?
  2. In your years in leadership, what specific steps have you taken to develop the next generation of leaders in your school?

 Lord Jesus,

your life and your ministry on this earth
were often about preparing others
to lead your Church once you were gone.

Through your years of public ministry,
you patiently led your apostles and disciples
to a clearer understanding of Your Father's Kingdom
and the path that led there.

More importantly, you formed them as leaders,
men and women who could stand in your stead
and serve others with great dedication and courage,
while also being selfless and compassionate.

As we minister now in this work of Catholic education,
experienced in the schools of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart,
help us to more fully understand what it means
to be a leader in this charism.

Give us the clearsightedness, boldness, and good sense
necessary to respond to the call of the Spirit
in order to be the most effective leaders possible
in this charism.

We ask you this, trusting always in your love and mercy,
now and forever.


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