The 3 People Every Leader Needs In Their Life

What does it take to be a great leader? Wisdom? Skill? Emotional Intelligence? Yes, yes and yes. Rather than focusing on “What” it takes to be a good leader I want to look at the “Who” it takes to be a good leader.

American novelist Alex Haley said, “If you ever see a turtle on top of a fence post you know he had help getting there.” It wasn’t “the what” but “the who” that got the turtle where he was.

The turtle, like leaders, need people in their life. An isolated leader is an unhealthy one. With a little pause and reflection I want to suggest three people every leader needs in their life.

Person Number 1: A Champion

Great leaders need a champion in their life. Someone who is cheering them on, encouraging them, helping them crash through quitting points when they are down or have failed.

A champion that can breathe life into them when insecurity sets in or when feelings of "I'm not good enough" badger them after a failure. The champion is both for and with the leader through good times, and more importantly, through difficult times.

Question 1: Who is your champion?
Question 2: If the answer to question 1 is "I don't know." Then, Who could it be?

Find a champion who will, "encourage you and build you up." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

Person Number 2: A Mentor

It's what we learn after we know it all that counts. Leaders who have mentors in their life live with a sense of humility and awareness that only comes by remaining open to learning knew things from someone that has been there, done that. Mentors have a tendency to weed out arrogance.

Someone once said that a chip on the shoulder indicates wood higher up and after a few wins or successes it's easy to see the chips on the shoulders of others but rarely do we see them on our own. A mentor has perfect vision to see such things. They have permission to speak truth into the leaders life because they have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Great leaders need a mentor that can speak candidly into their life.

Question 1: Who is your mentor?
Question 2: If the answer to question 1 is "I don't know." Then, Who could it be?

Find a mentor who is, “Wise and gives good advice; because the heart of a fool has none to give." Proverbs 15:7 NLT

Person Number 3: A Friend

Leaders are usually known by some or by many, depending on their platform and their influence. Just becausea leader is known doesn't mean they have a friend. In fact, some of the most lonely people I have met are leaders who have many acquaintances yet no real friends. Friends with whom they have deep and authentic connection.

Speaking from experience, this is one area of my life that I had to drastically turn around. Seeking a friend or two that I could be open, honest and vulnerable with has been a game changer for me personally.

For years I kept people at a distance for fear of revealing my true self and the risk that comes with such exposure. I have learned that you don't have to tell everything to everyone but you need to tell something to someone. If you don't you run the risk of isolation and the emotional and spiritual unhealthiness that comes with it.

I have learned that you don’t have to tell everything to everyone but you need to tell something to someone.

I believe the biggest mistake we can make as leaders is not having a close friend. A friend who can walk through life with us, celebrate with us, comfort us.

Question 1: Who is your friend(s)?
Question 2: If the answer to question 1 is "I don't know." Then, Who could it be?

Find a friend because, "It's better to have a partner than go it alone...if one falls down, the other helps, But if there's no one to help, tough! By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 & 12 MSG


If you don't have any of these people in your life right now, then how awesome is that! You have an amazing adventure ahead of you! "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7 NASBStr

Honor someone today by thanking them for being a champion in your life or a wise mentor or dear friend. Believe me, they would be very thankful to hear it.

Photo Credit: photo ID: 573445867 © Panumas Yanuthai