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7 Ways a Leader Sets a Bar for Followers

A leader sets a bar for followers to follow in a number of ways.

If people are trying to follow you as a leader then you have the awesome responsibility of establishing the parameters by which they will be successful in the organization or on the team.

I feel the need in every post like this, Jesus sets the bar for the church. Period. He is our standard. But it would be foolish to ignore the fact God allows people to lead, even in the church. As Christian leaders, we set the bar in our church for many of the things which happen in the church.

A mentor of mine always says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership”. He didn’t make up the saying, but he’s learned in his 70+ years experience how true a statement it is. Are you leading with the idea that you are setting the bar for the people trying to follow your lead?

7 ways a leader sets a bar:

Vision casting

The vision, even a God-given vision, is primarily communicated by the senior leader. Others will only take it as serious as you do. Keeping it ever before the people primarily is in your hands.


The moral value of the church and staff follows closely behind its senior leadership. Our example is Jesus, and none of us fully live out His standard, but the quality of the church’s character – in every major area of life – will mirror closely to the depth of the leader’s character.

Team spirit

If the leader isn’t a cheerleader for the team, they’ll seldom be any cheerleaders on the team. Energy and enthusiasm is often directly proportional to the attitude of the leader.

Generosity and kindness –

No church – or organization for that matter – will be more generous or kind than its most senior leadership. There may be individuals who are generous and kind, but as a whole people follow the example of leadership in this area as much or more than any other.

And those characteristics are in such supply these days they stand out went present.

Completing goals and objectives

The leader doesn’t complete all the tasks – and shouldn’t – but ultimately the leader sets a bar on whether goals and objectives are met. Complacency prevails where a leader doesn’t set measurable progress as a value and ensure systems are in place to meet them.


A leader doesn’t have to be the most creative person – seldom is – but a team will be no more creative than a leader allows. A leader who stifles idea generation puts a lid on creativity and eventually curtails growth and change.


The speed of change and the speed of work on a team is set by a leader. If the leader moves too slow – so moves the team. If a leader moves too fast – the team will do likewise.

Those trying to follow a leader will seldom outperform a bar their leader sets for them. Consequently, and why this is so important a discussion, an organization will normally cease to grow beyond the bar of the leader.

Be careful leader of the bars you set for those trying to follow.

Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss issues of leadership in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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