1 - Essentials

Health and Growth


Think about the leaders who inspire you. What do they have that you want? What keeps their organizations healthy and thriving? In this 5-part course based on his book Elemental Leadership, Dave Workman shares why he believes integrity, passion, servanthood, and imagination are the essential elements of leadership. He provides engaging examples and reflective question to encourage all leaders to take their organizations to the next level. 

Dave Workman is President of Partnership Advisors, a consulting firm devoted to helping churches and nonprofits become more healthy and effective. He is the author of The Outward-Focused Life and Elemental Leader. Dave formerly served as Senior Pastor at Vineyard Cincinnati, a multi-site church in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

In this first session, Dave introduces the four essential elements he believes every leader needs and every church must have.  



Dave shared what it means to be an elemental leader. For the sake of simplicity and retention, he metaphorically uses the foundational elements of ancient Greek philosophy to help describe the traits: 

  1. EARTH: Represents INTEGRITY, something rooted and grounded in the leader’s character that motivates him or her to live out values and mission.
  2. FIRE: Represents PASSION, the catalytic element that fuels inspiration and energy, making ideas and dreams catch fire in others.
  3. WATER: Represents SERVANTHOOD, being poured out for others, understanding that the organization is not about them, outward-focused.
  4. AIR: Represents IMAGINATION, asking “blue sky” and “what if” questions that challenge current methodologies and foster innovation.

Describe your leadership experience. Do you currently lead a team or an organization? In what ways has your leadership influenced others and the health of your team or organization?
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What are you initial thoughts about Dave’s essential elements? Do you agree that they are all necessary for organizational health and growth? Why or why not?
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Which of these elements are a strength for you or your organization? How can you tell? Which elements might you or your organization need to grow in? Why?
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Do you know anyone who embodies all four of these elements well? Who and how so? How has that affected their team or organization as a whole?
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Elemental leaders are those who recognize that they must infuse and maintain a healthy balance of these values in the teams and organizations they lead. Head to the next session to take a closer look at the impact of the integrity element.