Nowhere Man

During a one week period, I attended a Willow Creek Leadership Summit and a retro-Beatles concert. Wondering how these to relate? Read on.The words of the Beatles song, “Nowhere Man,” hooked and haunted me. Here are the first two verses.

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

Written by John Lennon in 1965, “Nowhere Man” paints a bleak picture of humankind–no plans, no point of view, does not know where he’s going, and a bit like you and me. To view this classic for yourself, click here.

To the degree that this song makes a valid observation, it says to me that a leader’s responsibility is to redeem culture in formulating plans, advocating a point of view (casting a vision), and providing direction. Some leaders do this better than others.

One of the speakers at the Leadership Summit, Liz Wiseman, spoke about two kinds of leaders: those who multiply the capabilities of others and those who diminish others.

It may be that so many who lack purpose and direction are this way because of leaders who have diminished them. And, in contrast, individuals who are highly capable and competent are so because of leaders who have amplified their capabilities and effectiveness, making them…Somewhere Men and Women.

The characteristics of multipliers and diminishers are described in Wiseman’s book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. Here is a summary.

–Attract talented people and use them according to their strengths
–Create an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work
–Define opportunities that cause people to stretch
–Drive sound decisions through rigorous debate
–Give others the ownership for results and invest in their success

–Hoard resources and underutilize talent in empire building
–Create a tense environment that suppresses people’s thinking and capability as tyrants
–Give directives that showcase how much they know. They are know-it-alls
–Make centralized, abrupt decisions that confuse the organization
–Drive results through personal involvement as micro-managers

From a leadership perspective, Diminishers create “nowhere men and women,” treating them as something other than image bearers of God. Multipliers create “somewhere men and women,” facilitating their vision, growth, and effectiveness. To experience the “multiplier effect,” we invite you to join one of our courses and attend our October leadership retreat. Enter the journey of developing your leadership self or multiply yourself by encouraging the leadership development of another.

Church Leadership Center assists leaders and churches with leadership development. Click here for more information. To view videos about Commissioned Pastors and those who support them, click here.

To read previous blogs, click here.

Fall 2013 lay leadership courses include Old Testament, Theology, Pastoral Care, and Standards and Government. For course descriptions and additional information, click here. Please pre-register before August 31, 2013 by sending an email to Alison DeBoer, Course meeting date and time options will be communicated and discussed with participants during September 3 – 13. Classes begin the week of September 23 – 27. The registration fee of $300 per course is due prior to the first class.

Advance notice: Leadership and Commissioned Pastor Retreat is planned for October 25 – 26, 2013 at Camp Geneva, Holland, MI. Guest presenter: Pastor Marlin Vis. Topic: Reading the Bible through Middle Eastern Eyes. For additional information click here. To be put on the retreat mailing list, contact Alison DeBoer,

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