FIVE QUALITIES OF PRACTICE IN SUPPORT OF LEADERS DEVELOPING LEADERS
FIVE QUALITIES OF PRACTICE IN SUPPORT OF
LEADERS DEVELOPING LEADERS
B.S., Penn State University, 1982
Master of Arts, Wheaton College Graduate School, 1993
Submitted to the faculty
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for
ME 9250 Leadership Development & Culture, Jim Plueddemann
for the degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
FIVE QUALITIES OF PRACTICE IN SUPPORT OF LEADERS DEVELOPING
Leaders developing leaders as relationship centric............................................................... 2
Leaders developing leaders as accompaniment .................................................................... 3
Leaders developing leaders and humility ............................................................................. 4
Leaders developing leaders in the context of community and team..................................... 5
Leaders developing leaders as a pilgrimage ......................................................................... 6
REFERENCES ......................................................................................................................... 8
FIVE QUALITIES OF PRACTICE IN SUPPORT OF
LEADERS DEVELOPING LEADERS
Carol Plueddemann asks: Would I be willing to share with her and Jim an
anecdote regarding cross-cultural leadership development for possible inclusion in their
With that question fresh in my mind I climbed onto the bus with 35 other
leaders-in-training and off we went to camp. What followed were 48-hours of accompanying
program directors as they led camp programs using for “campers” leaders who were also
being trained at the same to serve as small group counselors.
I confess that my mind was spinning as I tried throughout the weekend to
recall specific anecdotes and because there has been so many, over so many years and in so
many different countries I could not pinpoint one in particular. I think my mind was
searching for some resting point, for some structure to hang the stories on like beautiful
Christmas decorations awaking the arrival of the pine tree in order to display their beauty.
I found the perfect tree.
I found it in the most unlikely of places.
I found the perfect structure to hang my stories on in a book called
Forgiveness and reconciliation: Religion, public policy, and conflict transformation
(Helmick 2001). It is not quite the resource one would naturally turn to discover the secrets
of leadership development but in the following paragraphs I trust the reader
will agree that I have found the best of trees on which to showcase these gems. Given the
belief that there is no such thing as a Holy Grail of cross-cultural leadership development I
pose the following question:
What qualities of process appear to have been pivotal in engendering the
practice of leaders developing leaders in volunteer settings? (Lederach, 2001, 194).
Here are the five branches of the “Christmas tree” I found. Although Lederach
wrote these five qualities of process and practice for the context of reconciliation on the
global scale, I believe the same principles coincide perfectly to my area of passion and
1. Leaders developing leaders as relationship centric.
2. Leaders developing leaders as accompaniment.
3. Leaders developing leaders and humility.
4. Leaders developing leaders in the context of community and team.
5. Leaders developing leaders as a pilgrimage.
Leaders developing leaders as relationship centric
“Hmm, this is delicious, Norma, there is nothing like a home cooked meal.” I
had been living in Honduras for over a year, renting a room and mostly eating out so going to
Norma’s house once-a-week was a highlight for me. During our weekly visits, I got to know
her children, played basketball with her husband as we developed a close friendship. After
two years, Norma took over my role in Honduras as National training director for Christian
Camping International (CCI). She remained in that role for over twelve years, developing
hundreds of local church leaders to serve as camp counselors and program directors.
Leaders are not formed just through training, having a relationship with them
is central. Within the family oriented Latin culture, that relationship best include their loved
ones as well.
Leaders developing leaders as accompaniment
With her characteristic gleam in her eyes, she exclaimed: “Lisa, I can’t wait to
tell you about this weekend! I accompanied Carlos as he directed a children’s camp for my
denomination.” Carlos graduated this year from CCI Latin America’s Institute for Forming
Instructors and Bessy walked alongside him as he trained the counselors and then led the
Since I knew what her schedule was like, incredulously I asked “How did you
ever manage to squeeze in the time to do that, Bessy?”
“Well, the same way you managed to do it with me”, Bessy replied with a
smile on her face.
Leaders develop other leaders using the very means and manner in which they
were taught. Leaders do not always do what you tell them, however, for better or worse, they
often do what you show them. Walking alongside a national affords you the opportunity to
see how they lead, allows you to learn from them, creates the space for them to ask your
advice, and then as need be teach them with your words and deeds what God has so
graciously taught you.
Leaders developing leaders and humility
“Why?” retorted Evelyn.
“For having arrived late to the staff meeting.”
I had already worked in Latin America for ten years so I was well aware of
Latins view of time and punctuality. But I was bound and determined that things would be
run differently here in El Salvador. By insisting that late comers make a public apology, I
would create a different sub-culture here, similar to the one I had admired from a camp in the
All but one of the leaders subjected themselves to my humiliating request and
entered the room.
Evelyn did not. She remained outside.
Later that week, we had another staff meeting. But this time it was I who
asked forgiveness thanks to the forthright confrontation of the Salvadorians and their natural
resistance to “Yankee imperialism,” which is what they considered to be my insistence on
apologizing for being late. I count as one my most loyal friends and co-leaders that same
Evelyn who remained outside the room.
Nothing is as ineffective as a foreigner who comes and tells you how things
should be done. Given the prominent role North America has played in influencing its
southern neighbors in modern times, as well as the historic antecedent of having been
conquered by the Spaniards, Latins are used to being told what to do. That may give them the
propensities to either fight back or submit to outside influences but what it has not prepared
the general population to do on a large scale is to examine, scrutinize and evaluate those
influences. Therefore, be careful how you lead. They might lead likewise only for you and
them to later discover it is not the best way to lead and be led. Humility would suggest that
our leadership development processes and practices be rooted and responsive to the context
and people. This type of humility has been sorely lacking in many of my efforts to develop
leaders over the last twenty-five years in Latin America.
Leaders developing leaders in the context of community and team
The spider web glistened as it hung between two trees twenty feel apart. I
would have stepped directly into it were it not suddenly highlighted by the sun’s rays. I
stopped and sat down to ponder its significance since we were at camp and our task for the
next hour was to observe God’s creation and discover His invisible qualities revealed in
nature. I stared in awe at the intricate connection between the finely woven strands.
Here is what I am still in the process of wondering about and postulating.
What if the leaders that leaders develop are their own family members or relatives? Latin
American culture is very family oriented. I gazed around at the thirty-five leaders we were
with at the training camp as we were all spread out individually observing God’s creation.
We had two pairs of sisters, one trio of sisters, a husband and wife, a brother and sister-in-
law, a boyfriend-girlfriend couple, my goodness, almost half of them were related. Without
our even capitalizing on it, people were telling their family members about our training
courses and were inviting them to get involved. Our team of leaders was experiencing a
natural growth in size; with each new event more were added, it was not the same leaders all
the time, there were new ones coming along in the wake.
Hmm. So the spider web’s strands are interconnected like a family’s but it is
also stretched out between two very distant trees. So, maybe the lesson is that we must be
cautious to build a strong sense of Biblical community under which all of us would
experience a sense of belonging. I am aware that Latins are not community oriented. Your
team is your blood family, not your neighbors. So, our challenge as an Association of
Christian Camping leaders will be make the most of Latin’s family orientation to keep adding
new members as we strive to build cohesive teams where leaders develop each other,
creating a sense of belonging to a Biblical community.
Leaders developing leaders as a pilgrimage
There is no quite fix, no short cut, no Holy Grail, no software, no technology,
no magic formula that can guarantee us perfect results. A far more realistic approach would
be to acquaint oneself with the rather long process the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac took
with raising up the leadership deficient population of Israel to move from slavery in Egypt to
world class leaders who were held in awe by their neighboring population once they moved
into the Promised Land. For leaders to develop leaders, with the support and accompaniment
of leaders from other cultures, “we need to develop long-term lenses and commitments, both
programmatically and institutionally. I believe we should move toward thinking in decades
rather than months or a few years” (Lederach 2001, 202).
For me, this part of the story is still in process. Although I have lived and
worked in Latin America for almost twenty-five years, at times I feel like I am still
wandering in the desert regarding cross cultural cues, how to form leaders who form leaders
and the myriad of other aspects that make up ministry. I am learning not to fear the feeling of
being lost and not having all the answers as I strengthen my relationship and trust in the
Pillar of Light who guides us by day and by night.
Helmick, Raymond G. 2001. Forgiveness and reconciliation: Religion, public policy, and
conflict transformation, ed, Petersen, S.J. and Petersen, Rodney L. 2001. Radnor, Pa.:
Templeton Foundation Press.
Lederach, John Paul. 2001. Five qualities of practice in support of reconciliation processes.
In Forgiveness and reconciliation: Religion, public policy, and conflict
transformation, ed. Helmick, Raymond G., Petersen, S.J. and Petersen, Rodney L.
2001. Radnor, Pa.: Templeton Foundation Press.