He led many people. As a financial advisor, he influenced and led others to make wise financial decisions that would serve them for years to come. As a friend, he was constantly making phone calls during his drives to work and back home. And as a dad, he led his family through some difficult times. I got to know this leader in every one of his leadership roles and as I got to know him more deeply I found out his secret leadership sauce…He knew how to follow.

Not what you would have expected from an influential leader, but that was his secret. He became a great leader by first becoming a great follower. I struggle with that recipe in my own leadership. My desires are often to be in the “lead role” or be the one who calls the shots. I aspire to lead but struggle to be content to follow in the meantime. Unfortunately, I see this pattern around me all too often as well.

“I do not want to be led by a man who does not know how to wait and how to follow. I myself do not want to be a leader who does not know how to humble myself and embrace a slower timeline – even if I disagree with it.”

A.W. Workman

Leadership is a crucible. It can crush and break down, but ultimately it reveals. It reveals the heart of the one leading. It reveals the character of the leader (or lack thereof). Leadership is a slog. There will be good times and hard times, but nothing can prepare one for leadership like waiting for it. That is why I was challenged, convicted, and encouraged by A.W. Workman’s article “Leaders Who Know How To Follow“. Following is the pre-requisite course to leadership. If one cannot follow they will never be ready or able to lead.

This is still one leadership lesson I am learning: before I am ready to lead, I must learn how to follow well. I began learning this lesson by watching one of the greatest leaders I ever had the privilege of knowing. The man I mentioned to start. The financial advisor, friend, and father – my father-in-law. If you’d like to read my tribute to him you can do so here. But as always I’d love to hear from you about this article. Leave a comment below and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Until Next Time…