Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast: How to Develop Leaders

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Thank you for joining the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast! Last month, we talked about four dark sides developers can tend toward that keep them from leading effectively. Today, we’re going to talk about developing leaders.

Developing people doesn’t happen accidentally. Developing leaders must be intentional. I want to give you five big thoughts when it comes to being intentional about developing the people you lead.

  • Self-awareness is the first step to growth and development.
  • Development hinges on trusted relationships.
  • People grow best while they’re in the game.
  • Asking questions helps people grow more than giving answers.
  • People must own their own development.

People have an unlimited capacity for self-deception. A problem someone doesn’t know about is a problem they can’t solve. People don’t know what they don’t know. The best foundation of future success is self-awareness in the present. As leaders, we can never assume people naturally become aware. Through tools, training, coaching, and testing, we can help create self-awareness.

People often believe trust must be earned. Not us. We have a different assumption. I’m believing we hire the best and surround ourselves with high integrity. I believe trust is given, but mistrust is earned. When I’m trusting of others, they are more likely to trust me. When trust becomes more than lip-service, it opens the door for true growth. When you talk to some leaders, they make you think they are important, but when you talk to the best leaders, they help you know you are important.

Many organizations feel the need to build programs to train leaders, creating a separate pathway for development, but that often undervalues the growth that can happen over time doing a job. Find ways to stretch people where they are. Don’t just see people as means to get things done. See getting things done as means to develop people.

The best developers listen more than they speak. As leaders, we tend to want fast results. After all, we’ve got experience and wisdom, right? But people don’t retain truth when you dump it on them, they retain it when they discover it for themselves. Ask questions that help people discover the answers. Lead into the question gently, and remove threats to the answer. Listen to their answers to understand their thought process instead of preparing your response.

Strive to give your team members two things: permission to fail and room to rise. They need permission to fail because growth always involves the risk of failure. Push them out of their comfort zone. You aren’t seeking perfection. You’re seeking growth, and growth and comfort never co-exist.

Remember, you don’t have to know it all to be a great leader! Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.


Here's an exercise you can do to grow as a leader—ask yourself and your team these questions:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how good of a listener are you in developmental conversations? Ask people on your team. Try to ask five questions before ever offering any suggestions.
  • What is the number one thing you could do to become a better developer? What are you going to do about your answer?


I struggle with innovation or big-picture thinking. I want to contribute to my company and provide value beyond my role. What are some questions you consider to kick-start creativity to better your organization? – Karly

So many people start with what they think they need. Innovation often starts with what you have. So start with these questions:

  • What problem are we trying to solve?
  • What do we have to solve that problem?

If you have too much, put constraints on what you have. You are more innovative with less time or fewer resources because you have to be.

Now, when you get it to work, add a zero to the question. Instead of asking how to grow by 10%, ask how you can grow by 100%. This takes your mind out of the tweak zone and into the innovative zone.

What are your favorite business or leadership books you’ve read recently? What’s your reading strategy? – Shania

Great question. I’m including a list of 10 or so books I’ve finished or reread recently in the Episode Resources section of these notes with links to learn more about them.

I have a soft goal of listening to a book a week. I do it in the morning while I’m getting ready, during my drive time, or when I work out. I’m almost always at listening at 1.5x speed. I listen at 1.25 speed if I love the book! If I don’t love it, I double the speed to finish it a little quicker. If I’m halfway through the book and haven’t gotten one big takeaway, I’ll usually stop listening or reading.

Have a question for Craig? Email him at leadership@life.church.


Leave a review: www.go2.lc/leadershippodcastitunes

Catalyst One Day: www.catalystconference.com/oneday

Watch Life.Church messages: www.life.church/watch

More from Craig: www.craiggroeschelbooks.com

Craig Groeschel, Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life

Eric Barker, Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success is (Mostly) Wrong

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Jack Schafer with Marvin Karlins, The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over

Sean Covey, The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Derek Thompson, Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

Phil Knight, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success

Free church resources & tools: www.life.church/churches


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