Shopping for a Leader

Lead Yourself Through Life

So, you are on the journey to be a pastor? Trying to naviage the challenges along the way? Well, you are in the right place. Last week we started this series, “I Want to be a Pastor” in hopes of helping those of you who desire to be in full-time ministry. The goal of the series is to provide the practical elements of positioning yourself to get hired and be prepared for success. If you missed last week’s introduction to the series you can find it here. This week we are going pull from Liz Wiseman’s approach to “Shopping for a New Boss” from her book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. We are going to learn from Liz’s perspective as an executive coach and consultant, author, university professor, and Christian thought leader, and apply her principles to the ministry world. For anyone who has been in full-time leadership for any significant period of time, you know the lead pastor you work for is paramount to the quality of the ministry experience you have.

Your ministry career and the effectiveness you have for the Kingdom of God is often tied to your lead pastor. This individual is often the vision creator, the keeper of resources, and the final approval of the decisions you as a ministry leader are allowed to make. They are also the first determining factor in the experience your family has while serving in the ministry assignment you are in. So, what should you look for?

Most of the time in ministry we look at whether or not we ‘click’ with that person. Do we like them, get along with them, and enjoy being around them? Depending on your personality though, you probably get along with more people than you can work for. Many of my closest friends have become that because I simply like being around them and spending time with them, but I probably wouldn’t work for most of them. So, if you are focused on whether or not you like your potential boss, then there is a higher percentage of choosing to work for someone you may not be able to work for.

What our perspective should shift toward is whether or not they are a leader we want to work for. One key question we need to ask is: does this person operate as a multiplier or a diminisher? A diminisher leader is one who constantly introduces new ideas for their teams to scurry and accomplish, which doesn’t allow for team members to explore and create on their own. A diminisher narrows down the communication lines and quiets the majority of the team and only listen to a small percentage of its members, or only listen to themselves. Diminishers underutilize people and leave creativity on the table (Wiseman & McKeown, 2010). On the other side, Multipliers, are those that, despite their high qualifications and capabilities, care very little about establishing their authority and leadership and focus on fostering a culture of intelligence. They don’t simply make followers feel smarter, they actually help make followers be smarter. They value the team rather than the individual, but this approach pushes individuals to achieve extraordinary results by expecting stellar performance from everyone.

What are the characteristics of multipliers and diminishers? Here are a few ways diminishers lead (Wiseman & McKeown, 2010):

  • The Empire Builder: hoards resources and underutilizes talent
  • The Tyrant: Creates a tense environment that suppresses people’s thinking and capabilities
  • The Know-It-All: Gives directives that demonstrate how much he or she knows
  • The Decision Maker: Makes centralized, abrupt decisions that confuse the organization
  • The Micro-Manager: Drives results through his or her personal involvement

Here are the characteristics of a multiplier (Wiseman & McKeown, 2010):

  • The Talent Magner: Attracts talented people and uses them to their highest potential
  • The Liberator: Creates an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work
  • The Challenger: Defines an opportunity that causes people to stretch their thinking and behavior
  • The Debate Maker: Drives sound decisions by cultivating rigorous debate among team members
  • The Investor: Gives other people ownership of results and invests in their success

Obviously, each of us needs to decide what we value and the type of lead pastors we would like to work for, but if you desire to work for someone who is providing freedom, the opportunity for creativity, and shares influence with you, then a multiplier is what you are looking for.

So, how do you identify a multiplier or diminisher in the process of interviewing for a ministry position? We will cover that next week in our series, “I Want to be a Pastor”.


Wiseman, L., & McKeown, G. (2010, May 1). Managing Yourself: Bringing Out the Best in Your People.  (

Liz Wiseman  


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