Are You an A or B Leader?

Thinking on Leadership

Back in early September, my wife and I were able to get away for a four-day visit with Bill and Bev Bauer in Tennessee. Bill is a retired Civil Engineer and former Vice President of one of the largest engineering firms in the country, Chicago Bridge and Iron or CBI. He is also a former elder at New Song Church in Bolingbrook and one of the wisest and most godly elders I have ever known. On top of that, he and Bev are the kind of friends that you never grow weary of being around. I love him and I respect him.

We always seem to talk about leadership when we are together and during this last trip up the mountain to my own personal “Moses”, I asked if Bill would be willing to write a guest post for the blog on a concept he calls the “A, B, C’s of Leadership.” This is so relevant to the Church. I want to encourage all church planters and pastors to be “A” leaders. You’ll understand why in about three minutes when you have finished reading what Bill has written. Here it is. (Bill’s words in blue.)

A, B or C Leaders

by Bill Bauer

Leadership (values)In an organization, there are certain telltale signs that enable an informed observer to predict the likely success or effectiveness of that organization. The type of organization doesn’t matter. It can be political, business, religious, sports or any other area of endeavor. If an organization is made up of people these rules apply. 

Here is one such rule:

“A” class people surround themselves with “A” class people.
“B” class people surround themselves with “C” class people.

What does this mean?

Highly competent people (A’s) want to surround themselves with the best people they can and are not threatened or intimidated by other high capability people. People who are not secure or confident in their own capability (B’s) tend to select folks less capable than themselves so that they can remain the “top dog”. They don’t want to be challenged by others in the organization.

We didn’t start out that way. Remember when you were young and engaged in a pickup softball or football game. How did we determine the sides? Two people were chosen by some random method and then they would take turns selecting from the pool of available players until all were selected. If you were one of those doing the picking, whom did you choose? You picked the best player you could. And why? To give your team the best chance to win. You were not at all interested in being the best player on the losing team. The objective was to win the game (after all, that is why we kept score) so you picked accordingly.

Then we grow up and become involved in other organizations and sometimes we lose sight of what the game is. The game is to make the organization successful, to win. When we lose sight of what the game is, we just became a B class person, and pick our players accordingly and it is evident to all watching … a telltale sign of future outcomes.

The applications for churches are so numerous, so pervasive that it hardly seems like it needs to be pointed out.  But maybe this does, … personal pride and insecurity will both work against a leader and keep him or her from surrounding themselves with quality people.  Be ruthless on pride in your spirit wherever and whenever you find it.


The only caveat to what Bill says here, although it might be implied, is that sometimes very talented people or high capacity people, people who present or appear to be A’s are deficient in character. Surround yourself with “A” people, people who may even exceed you but don’t forget to examine their character maturity as well.

3 thoughts on “Are You an A or B Leader?

  1. As a rapidly growing clutz, I was always the last one chosen so I avoided involvement in “the game” as much as possible. I do get your point on not picking others for the purpose of seeming superior. On the other hand, not many wise not many strong are chosen. I like to pick those who seem to be the least and empower them to participate and lead, using the gifts God has given me to create the format that encourages the weak.


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