Foundational Elements Future Leaders Must Establish Before Being Placed Into an Official Leadership Position

The desire to move into an official leadership position is a noble goal. However, before a person is given a leadership position or title it’s crucial to be prepared for the responsibility. Being prepared to lead beforehand will allow a newly appointed leader to successfully influence those they have been entrusted to lead. If you are striving to have an official leadership position or have recently been given an official leadership role, I highly recommend working through and establishing yourself in these 3 elements.

1. The element of your core values

Leaders (both new and seasoned) must know and be true to the core values they have. The actions and attitudes of a leader stem from the character (inner life) and values of a person, either good or bad. Good character and strong values will allow you to be effective in your new leadership role while bad character and weak values will eventually lead to the loss of the leadership position. Taking time to determine and be grounded on your core values will position you for success in an official leadership role.

2. The element of how you will lead

The first aspect of this element is about finding your leadership style and your personal strengths. Learn about leadership and management practices and techniques, then to adapt the areas that would best fit your personality and would allow you to effectively lead. Before you are a leader you should become a student of leadership and take the time to think about the skills that would best assist you in leading others.

The second aspect of this element is to establish how you will lead. To be founded on the traits and attitudes that would allow you to maximize your influence. A few traits of positive and effective leadership include:

• Serving those around you
• Being a catalyst for change
• Building strong relationships
• Leading by example, showing your people what you expect or want
• Inspiring and encouraging your people
• Casting and living out the organizational vision
• Being patient and humble

These traits would benefit you when you do move into a leadership position. The important thing is to not let your new power or title to cause you to adopt ineffective or negative leadership traits. This is why being founded on how you will lead (through positive traits) before you lead is so crucial.

3. The element of your growth mindset

It’s even more imperative to grow yourself after you are appointed into an official leadership position. I’ve witnessed several people grow and learn only until they were placed into a leadership position or have achieved a level of success. The desire they had to grow was based on the position or success, so once they obtained the goal they stopped growing. The danger of being goal driven and not growth driven is that it can cause a person to become ineffective and incompetent. To move to new levels of influence and productivity, chose to be growth driven.

Questions: Can you add to the list? What other things should a future leader establish before being placed into an official leadership position.  If your in an official leadership position, what did you do to prepare for it?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • DS

    What I like about this is pre-determining your choice/actions. While younger this was so important, because I was unaware what life would send my way. I found when I encountered situations I had already thought about and made conscious decision in advance, I was better prepared to make good decisions.

    • Starting to make the right choices/actions younger is so crucial. The choices we make in our youth/yearly adulthood stick with us through the rest of our life. Thank you for taking the time to read and add to the discussion.

  • I think it depends on what they want to be leaders of. One of the things I see in the church is that people enter into leadership positions or are pushed into leadership positions – I see this especially with kids – before they enter into a close enough walk with God that their desire to be a leader springs out of that walk rather than out of a desire to be popular, look good in the eyes of others, do something “great” for God, do something to be accepted by Him, etc. It’s hard to maintain a close walk with God and keep growing as a leader, but it helps if the original reason for going into leadership was built on a solid foundation.

    • Hello Barb,

      I’ve also seen that happen. People promote the person due to the skills and talents they have and overlook the character of the person. That’s a dangerous thing to do, especially in a church. We have to give young leaders time to show their character and integrity before placing them into a leadership position. Thank you for being that point up, it’s important.

  • I think it’s a great list. I like that you started with the core values. For me, I started moving ahead in desire and passion with no clue of what it meant to be a leader, but pushed myself on a path that added people naturally.

    • I started with that one because it’s one of the most important elements. You have learned a lot along the way:) Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • I was recently promoted to a position of leadership at work. One thing I quickly recognized was how much I still need to grow and learn. And it’s so important to listen to those around you. Followers want to add value and know that they are being heard.

    • Congratulations with the promotion, Chris! Yes, those are important, I’m glad your seeing that and learning to better lead and listen. Keep up the great work!

  • I like how you talk about continuing to grow once you attain a position of leadership. Leadership is just a stewardship, so it makes sense that we want to maximize our effectiveness in that area.

    • Great point about leadership being a stewardship (from God). That’s something we all need to remember, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

  • Hi Dan,

    This was a brilliant post, my friend.

    I can really appreciate what you wrote about the importance of having our inner world strongly grounded along with self-awareness of who we are before we lead.

    I would like to add that it’s also useful for a person to be able to observe effective leaders in action and use such people as role models, before he/she begins a leadership position.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Hiten,

      Thank you my friend. Yes, learning through the example of great leaders is important. It allows us to grow and become better. Taking the time to place people around us where we can learn from and watch is crucial. Thank you for taking the time to add to the topic.

  • Great post Dan. Number three is key. We must continue to grow to keep raising the lid.

  • This is an excellent post! It’s sometimes easy to think being intentional about our role means being less natural or organic in approach. I love how this post breaks down how to invest in one’s leadership and expect to continue growing. It’s so much more exciting to be growth focused rather than goal focused. It cultivates a sense of discovery which will serve those you hope to lead as well as sustaining yourself.

    • Thank you, Micah! Yes, growth driven will produce higher long term results. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate you.

  • Dan how about the element of how you will follow. As a Leader you also have to follow someone, and learn so that you can pass it on to others.

    • That’s such an important element! Even leaders are following someone. Thank you for taking the time to read and share.