Assessing Leadership Potential


Jesus knew how to choose leaders, but His method of assessing leadership potential certainly didn’t match what today’s world would say about it.

No one but Jesus would have seen that the disciples, the diverse group He chose, would be “successful” leaders. No one but Jesus would have the vision to see that in that diverse group of men the style of leadership that emerged as a result of His coaching and training was exactly what would turn the world upside down. He saw talent, fervent devotion, fierce loyalty and gave them the ability to fail and learn.

How do you assess potential?

I like what God told Joshua when he took over from Moses. He said, “Be strong and courageous.” When you look for future leaders on your team, do you look for people who are strong (meaning they have concrete values and a sense of purpose and mission). Do you look for people who are courageous (meaning they aren’t afraid to take a stand for what is right. They aren’t afraid to fail. They aren’t afraid of what others think)?

I also think what the apostle Paul told Timothy is important. In 1 Timothy 3:2–7 Paul outlines some qualities of an overseer/leader. Two strike me as important for us when we assess potential. The first is someone who is “above reproach.” That’s a person who has integrity and honor. Their word is their bond. They stand for truth and finding the truth. They don’t easily compromise.

The second one is “a good reputation with those outside the church.” It’s sometimes easy to have a good reputation with those who are close around us. We’re guarded. They easily can overlook some things. But, outside our little world is another story. Future leaders should have a solid reputation within and without the organization.

It’s our job as leaders to find new leaders. It’s our job to inspire and mentor those who will take the reigns someday. How do you assess someone’s potential? Are your eyes open and ready? Are you investing in other people and not just trying to forward your own agenda and career? Take a lesson from Paul and Jesus. Find new leaders, know their potential and mentor them.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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