ETBU Foundational Assumptions for Leadership


At ETBU, we consider carefully the way we build courses and programs in leadership. We use the following foundational assumptions to guide our programming.


Leadership is action not position.  We believe that individuals don’t have to have a title or position in order to lead.  Neither does having a position necessarily make you a leader.  

All leadership is relational.  You cannot lead without making a connection with people.  You may have a formal relationship, but without a personal connection most people won’t listen or follow.

There is a pervasive need for leaders. We need leaders in schools, hospitals, businesses, families, government, communities and churches.  

Leadership can be learned. Some people may have a certain set of gifts or experiences that naturally assist them in leading, but the skills and practices needed for leadership can be learned. It may not be easy, but leadership can be learned.

Leadership is not limited to the few.  There will always be a limited number of positions, but anyone who is willing to learn and apply leadership skills can lead wherever they are.

Leadership is not formulaic… There is no magic formula for leadership.  Leadership must take into account the personality, gifts, and skills of the individual as well as the culture, setting, and community in which the individual leads.

…but there are some timeless truths. While leadership can’t be boiled down to a simple formula, there are some timeless truths which can be applied in all leadership situations.

Leadership should be virtuous. Leadership should always bring us toward a good, better, or desired end.

Leaders are self aware. Leaders must understand themselves: their gifts, skills, strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures.  This self awareness leads them to their unique approach to leadership and to better understanding others.

Leadership is a journey rather than a destination.  Leaders never arrive.  They are always learning, growing, and developing.