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Are the “Best” Leaders Always the Right Ones?

The longer I lead, the more I realize how essential the right leaders are to the success of a team, ministry, or organization.

While the right leaders will overcome insufficient systems and processes, great processes and systems can never overcome ineffective leaders.

The right leaders are not necessarily the “best” leaders.

The “best” leaders, when not in sync with the values of the ministry/organization, unintentionally lead her in a plethora of directions.

I have seen this occur countless times in local churches. A pastor or search team commit they are going to “hire the best and let them run.” They search diligently for the best staff members, driven by a faulty assumption that putting the best people in a room around the same table will be best for the church.

The leaders run, as they were told they would be able to do, and they run in a multitude of directions. And they take the church with them…

The right leaders are in sync with the ministry theology and philosophy of the ministry or organization. There is strong overlap between their personal values and that of the ministry/organization. Deep down, they sincerely long for the best of the entire ministry more than their own area.

Does wanting the “right” leaders mean you don’t look for the “best” leaders? Absolutely not! A team of strong leaders focused in the same direction is truly unstoppable.

However, the “best” leader is only best for the ministry/organization if there is alignment on the values that are most central to the ministry/organization. 

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Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, Eric served local churches, most recently investing eight years as the executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.