Leadership Is Caught, Not Taught

I think of myself as a good teacher. I enjoy teaching, facilitating workshops, and inspiring people to grow and change and become the best version of themselves.

If I could do nothing but write blog posts and books, create podcasts, lead workshops, and facilitate awesome webinars, I’d be in heaven. There is nothing I do that brings me more energy and excitement than that.

All those things fall into the teaching category.

But, one lesson I have learned along the way is this:

Leadership is better caught than taught.

Sure, leadership can be taught. There are plenty of great resources to learn how to be a leader. I don’t believe that people are born leaders.

People learn to be leaders.

However, it is true that people pay more attention to my actions than my words. If that’s the case, how I lead my ministry, the actions I take, and how I treat people are the best way to teach my team what it means to be a leader.

In my attempt to help my team catch my leadership, I try to follow these 3 strategies:

  • Do what I say and say what I do. I can’t believe how many times I have fallen into the trap of saying one thing and doing another. The funny thing is that it took me having a daughter to realize how important this is. I have been caught telling my daughter that she can’t have a cookie before dinner, and then I eat a cookie before dinner right in front of her eyes. Cookies are my weak spot. The difference between my daughter and my team is that my daughter will actually speak up. My team will often notice my hypocrisy but will decide to keep their mouth shut. Don’t mistake silence as them not noticing your actions differing from your words. Trust me, they notice.
  • Don’t expect people to go where I have not gone. I am the lid in my ministry. The further I go up, the further the lid is pushed up. If I don’t push the lid up, my team cannot push it up for me. The team can only go where I have been.
  • The first person I lead is myself. Don’t forget this fundamental rule. If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why would anyone else? Personal growth is the key to helping your team grow. As long as you keep growing, your team will keep growing.

Remember this: Leadership is better caught than taught.

Question: How do you pass on the lessons of leadership to your team?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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