Posted by: calloftheandes | March 16, 2012

Taking the Lead . . . By Pushing Others Forward

Américo Saavedra leading a discussion of HCJB Global Hands staff at Hospital Vozandes-Shell

When it comes to learning, listening alone isn’t enough. You’ve also got to see and discuss.

Then, for the best results, you should teach the same concepts to others. Subject retention increases with each step, according to Américo Saavedra, an HCJB Global missionary whose passion is developing leaders.

Teaming up with former HCJB Global President David Johnson, Saavedra co-taught several modules of Ser Líder: Capacitar a Otros para Ser Productivos (Being a Leader: Enabling Others to Be Productive) to HCJB Global staff members in Ecuador in late January. Johnson serves as senior consultant for Development Associates International (DAI) in Latin America.

The act of listening results in 10-percent retention, said Saavedra, whereas teaching the topic involves enough personal investment that you retain nine times as much.

Two HCJB Global Ecuadorian employees, Patricia Barahona and Dr. Ramiro Franco, instructed 11 Hospital Vozandes-Shell employees in the Ser Líder principles. The following week in Quito, three Shell employees joined more than 30 others for several modules.

So how did participants learn lessons of leadership? For one thing, they read aloud, then discussed, a continuing story from the workshop manual. The story follows developments of a fictional ministry.

Ser Líder participants discussed the characters’ distinct leadership styles and their various approaches to problems in the ministry. Communication styles, mentoring, team building and navigating transitions were just a few topics covered.

Theory met practice each time Saavedra and Johnson formed breakout groups. They asked the groups for sharing of ideas which then they wrote out on wall-sized posters. Afterwards the ideas were shared with the bigger group before moving to the next topic.

Even skits were within the bounds of learning better leadership. One morning session included a reenactment of a New Testament account in which John the Baptist directs his disciples to turn their loyalties to Jesus.

At the campus of Radio Station HCJB in Quito, sessions were held in the Larson Conference Center. After a week of learning, participants learned from Johnson and Saavedra that the large meeting would serve in their prolonged skit as a sinking ocean liner. Then with limited time, they formed a team and successfully divided the responsibilities of treating wounded passengers, soliciting communication for help and evacuating the sinking vessel.

Ser Líder was begun as a non-formal program by James Engel, a professor at Wheaton College and later Eastern University. He conceived of the leadership development curriculum after meeting with African pastors in 1995 at the Global Conference on World Evangelism in South Korea. The specific need expressed to Engel was for leadership training because the Africans wanted to be part of the Great Commission, bringing Christ to the nations of the world.

Ser Líder is preparing some 600 students for completion of their master’s degrees via agreements with universities throughout the world. Up to 30,000 leaders will take DAI training this year.

Sidebar story: Leader, Know Your Style of Leadership
An early lesson from Ser Líder is “Leader Know Yourself”. Are you an:

1) Entrepreneur-Designer: Takes charge. Confronts situations and changes them.
2) Influencer-Motivator: Captivates team members by sharing a compelling vision of the work.
3) Team Coordinator: Builds relationships Effective at mobilizing individuals toward collective goals.
4) Implementer: Carries out the plan with excellence, seeing to all the details.

Which style of leadership do you see in this series of video clips?

It’s obvious that they all can sing except one (played by Edwin Chamorro). What to do? How to find a solution? (7 second video)

Can the leader (Duval Rueda) solve this? Some frustration expressed by one team member (played by Tannia Lascano). (8 sec clip)

At last, a new role as announcer places all players correctly on the team. Video segments illustrate Number 3 leadership style.The song in Spanish means Rejoice In the Lord Always.

Video from February 2011 workshops in Quito.


  1. […] who heads Reach Beyond’s Apoyo pastoral training and leadership development ministry in Quito, grew up in Pucallpa, the city from where the ship departed on Monday, Sept. 26. With a […]

  2. […] Finally, “When it comes to learning, listening alone isn’t enough….”  Click on the following link to find out what more is needed and how we’ve been recently involved in interactive learning: […]

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