Life Church Podcast Part I – “How to Develop Leaders”, by Craig Groeschel

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Note: This is my first foray into the world of leadership podcasts. From what I have heard, Craig Groeschel is an inspirational leader and Life Church is spreading rapidly, with campuses in 8 states across the United States. My manager at One Acre Fund (an inspirational individual in his own right) advised me to check out the podcast, so hey, I’m giving it a shot! I will be listening in periodically to the published podcasts and taking notes to share with you! I’ve excluded all the personal notes and included only what is shareable, and I’ve tried to distill the major points into bit-sized nuggets.

What I have especially picked up from this episode is that we need to be intentional when developing others; we cannot expect others to automatically grow and develop. (Sounds obvious, but true!) And, like many things in life, it does not need a perfect formula – we just need to be consistent with the formula that we do have, continuously engaging it. Importantly, self-awareness is the first step required in growing personally as a leader. When we know that we need to develop, then we will be intentional in working on these areas. Self awareness is not easy, but it is the necessary beginning.

Please enjoy.

Tip #1: be self aware 

  • you can’t assume that you will become naturally self-aware
  • if we don’t know where we are weak, then we cannot get better
  • if you want to improve in the future, then you need to know what you need to develop, as self awareness is necessary for personal growth

Tip #2: development hinges on trusted relationships

  • those you are managing need to trust you care about them for them to receive mentorship from you
  • often the assumption is that trust must be earned, however one way think about this is to start from the perspective that trust is given and mistrust is earned
  • mutual trust gives you the currency to build into others
  • when you do not trust others they are less likely to trust in you, and without trust it is more difficult to have a climate of mutual support
  • a team is not a group of people who work together, a team is a group of people that trust each other
  • how do you deepen trust:
    • 1. transparency
    • 2. truth
    • 3. care
  • realize it is never about you! the “me” focused leader builds skepticism, where as the “you” focused leader builds trust
    • the best leaders help you know that you are important
  • direct access to the leader is important – you should always be accessible to others

Tip #3: throw people in the game!

  • growth happens in the course of doing your job
  • we should not see people as a means to getting things done, we should see getting things done as a means to develop people
  • you should take risks on people and trust them to get things done – push them beyond what they think they can

Tip #4: ask questions, don’t give answers

  • asking questions helps people grow more than giving answers
  • people don’t retain truth when you dump it, people retain truth when they discover it!
  • lead people gently and do not be threatening
  • remove the threat and create a safe environment of trust
  • don’t say, “if I had to do it again, this is what I would do differently”, instead say “if you were to do this again, what steps would you consider?”


Tip #5: people must own their own development 

  • give others permission to fail; where growth is happening there will always be mistakes
  • you are not seeking perfection from your team, you are seeking growth

Reflection Questions

  • on a scale of 1-10, how good of a listener are you?
  • what is the number one thing you can do to become a better developer?

Parting Thought  

“coaching is telling a person what they don’t want to hear, helping them see what you didn’t think they could see, so that they can become the person they always thought they could be” – Tom Landery