John Maxwell teaches the Leadership Gold lesson that people who start with you, seldom finish with you and I have found this to be true.  In fact, as a leader building teams and doing life with people for more than 20 years, I have learned that there are at least 3 types of people we will likely encounter on the journey of life and leadership. 

1)      People Who Are Going To Leave You No Matter What

The first type of person is someone who will start the journey with you, but decide to leave you and never return. Often times, when such a person decides to depart from us, we can feel rejected and hurt, especially if we have genuinely invested ourselves in the relationship.   In studying this type of relational dynamic within my own leadership, I have discovered that there are going to be some people who for whatever reason do not have the same vision and values that I have for building a team and doing life together. This means that their head (vision) and their heart (values) are not with me and there is nothing I can do that will be able to change that fact.  Therefore, even though their departure may hurt deeply, it is inevitable, so I must embrace it and move forward on the journey of life and leadership. For this reason, I have learned to never chase people who do not care to do life and leadership with me.  Instead, I simply trust the Lord to bring the right life partners into my life and leadership.

Among the Lord’s disciples, Judas was an example of this type of person on the journey of life and leadership with Jesus.  In John 6:64-67 the Bible records, “’But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

2)      People Who Will Leave You But Decide To Come Back No Matter What

This second type of person is someone who starts the journey with you, but somewhere along the way, they become weak in their convictions and make the decision to leave you.  However, once they have departed for greener grasses and realize that the grass is not greener in their new place, they are willing to do whatever it takes to come back and complete the journey with you. When this situation happens, I believe it is a function of the person’s head (vision) for building a team and doing life together being aligned with you, but for some reason, their heart (values) are weakly aligned with you until they experience the fruit of weak values in a different place.  Once someone like this type of person realizes that they made a poor decision in leaving, they become humbled by their circumstance and are willing to do whatever it takes to build a team and do life together based on a strong foundation of aligned values with you.  Through their experience, their head and their heart become fully aligned with you; therefore, their hands will be able to build with you for the long journey.  As leaders, we would be wise to make room for people who have left us to come back with a change of heart because they could potentially come back as one of your most loyal, dedicated, life building partners. 

Among the Lord’s disciples, Peter was an example of this type of person on the journey of life and leadership with Jesus.  In John 21:17 the Bible records, “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’”

3)      People Who Will Never Leave You And Will Remain With You No Matter What

This third type of person starts the journey with you and remains with you to the end. A person such as this fully believes in where you are going and is wholly convicted to go there with you.  Because their head (vision) and their heart (values) are completely aligned with yours from the beginning, they will faithfully build alongside you and always be there with you during the ups and downs of life. When you have people like this to build and do life together, they are like a friend that sticks closer than a brother and you can trust them with the most intimate aspects of your life.

Among the Lord’s disciples, John was an example of this type of person on the journey of life and leadership with Jesus.  In John 19:25-27 the Bible records, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved [John] standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”

As I build teams and do life with others, my personal prayer is that I will build and do life with people just like Jesus did – as a friend that sticks closer than a brother – with my head and my heart fully aligned with other brothers and sisters in Christ for the kingdom mission at hand. May it be the same for all people who are called disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ because in John 13:35, the Lord says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” By the grace, strength, and love of Christ in each of us, we can do it!

Thank you and have a blessed make-it-happen day!

Question:  Can you identify and describe a 4th type of person on the journey of life and leadership NOT mentioned in this post?

Doing Life And Leadership Copyright 2011, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Doing Life And Leadership With Others, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.