Green Thumb Leadership

By | June 13, 2018

[June 13, 2018]  One of the underrated purposes of good leadership is growing other leaders.  This purpose may not, upon reflection, be connected to leadership as we readily can see in trait and character development.  I call this … green thumb leadership.

“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”  – Ralph Nader

We often hear that leadership today is more complex, vague, uncertain, and ambiguous in its development and application.  While that is true of technology it doesn’t necessarily follow that the modern age makes leadership any more difficult to learn and apply, it’s just different.

In a survey of leading scholarly work, leader blogs, and leadership coursework, I have come to appreciate the idea that the essence of great leadership is the conscious effort to produce more and develop more leaders.  Very few organizations actually have this as a fundamental part of its leadership program and it is rarely identified in scholarly works.

In the U.S. military, things are different.  It is a key part of their program to teach everyone about leadership and require them to exercise those qualities.  It does no good on the battlefield for people to sit back and wait for a “leader” to show up and tell them what to do.  Everyone is taught to be proactive and share responsibility for whatever the outcome may be.

I recently found a very good website titled Green Thumb Leadership (see link here).  Lisa F. Kosak is the author and has done an outstanding job of putting together a number of sources for a leader who wants to grow themselves as a good person and effective leader.  She is one of a few who recognize that leadership requires “good soil” to bloom into something useful.  I recommend her website.

Many obstacles await those who take the journey of leadership but its value once gained, is priceless.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

34 thoughts on “Green Thumb Leadership

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Max, again you are quick and spot on with your comments.

    2. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Yes, thanks Max for the comparison. Gen Satterfield is a breath of fresh air when it comes to giving us tools to improve our lives. His recent PDF book is an example of something anyone can use; not just leaders.

    3. Danny Burkholder

      Good one. Thanks Max for your quick insight.

  1. Albert Ayer

    Like most people, I find myself as a leader working a little extra to develop junior leaders into something better than they were when we met. I’d love to see more on this subject. Thanks everyone for adding to the discussion here at

  2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    Timely article on a subject near and dear to my heart as a team leader during most of my lifetime. Thanks Gen Satterfield.

  3. Jonathan B.

    I’ve personally found that growing leaders itself is not that hard. It takes dedication and some mentoring but what the really difficult part is sparing the time resources necessary to do so. That is, perhaps, the reason it is so rare.

  4. Tracey Brockman

    This topic about growing leaders is often a HOT topic among academics. Just a cursory reading of their articles shows either they don’t mention it at all or they give it short shrift.

  5. Dennis Mathes

    Here’s a great book that addresses some of the same issues written about here.
    Ira Chaleff’s book Intelligent Disobedience – Doing Right When What You’re Told Is Wrong
    Look it up on Amazon or somewhere else and get it right away.
    Gen Satterfield, I recommend you review the book. Thanks.

  6. Danny Burkholder

    BG Satterfield, I see that we cannot post pictures in the comment section. That would be helpful to show what we mean. Thanks anyway for a great blog. (the best leader blog out there)

  7. Edward Kennedy III

    From those of us with military experience, in a combat zone specifically, leadership means that we MUST GROW our LEADERS. Else who will? That is why I write for Brig Gen Satterfield in order to help the process along a little bit. Fine readers here at his blog.

    1. Jerry C. Jones

      I’m a fan and looking forward to your next article here. Thanks Mr. Kennedy III.

  8. Yusaf from Texas

    Another good article on leadership topics that are not often discussed enough. Thank you from all of us down here in the state of Texas.

  9. Jerome Smith

    Often going unreported or discussed is this whole idea that leaders are grown, not popping up from thin air. Too many people believe that leaders are simply born and if you are not one naturally then you will never be one. Nothing could be further from the truth and therefore the theme of many of Gen Satterfield’s blog is exactly that.

    1. Watson Bell

      Thumbs up on your comment Jerome. I too believe this is an underrated topic of leadership but one that is likely one of the most important.

  10. Gil Johnson

    Good link to a useful Facebook page, thanks Doug. It’s no surprise that this website is the “go to” website for learning about leadership and about people.

  11. Janna Faulkner

    Many topics of leadership are frequently discussed among scholars but one that rarely makes the list is exactly as it is noted here. Growing leaders, however, once was a non-topic. Today, I will argue, we see more folks discussing the parameters of doing exactly that. In some organizations like the military, the topic has been around for a long time. I’m happy that it’s making the topic of discussion more today than in the recent past.

  12. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Loved your post today, Gen. Satterfield. I always come here in the morning to read about new ideas on what to present to my High School student.s Much appreciated.

  13. Lynn Pitts

    Army Captain well said. Great topic in particular for new leaders who are trying to get their feet wet in the middle of doing their jobs. Thank you.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      Lynn, also … thank you for you service.

  14. Army Captain

    Yes, Gen Satterfield, a good blog post today that points to an often overlooked part of good leadership; developing other leaders.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      You are spot on, as usual, Army Cpt. Thank you for your service.

  15. Max Foster

    Ahh, a great article to start my morning with. Thanks. I am a big believer in growing other leaders. I have found that those leaders who spend the time and effort creating and growing other leaders are, in the long run, better leaders overall.

    1. Wilson Cox

      Good to see you first again with the comments here. Thanks Max for your insights and analysis.

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