Warren is one of the 25 best American leaders according to US News & World Reports. According to the article, “the real key to Warren’s success, say those who study him, is his ability to mobilize ordinary churchgoers to become active lay ministers.”
Warren’s leadership style is decidedly low key. He delegates creative and managerial duties, reserving for himself the role of “chief disturbing agent” –providing Saddleback’s vision, values, and voice. Micromanaging is not a temptation. “You have to have people around you who are smarter than you in certain areas, and you just let them go. That comes with having a good sense of your own strengths and your weaknesses.”
Aides describe Warren as a “voracious learner” who has been known to read a book a day on everything from history and biography to business. “To me, leading is learning,” Warren says, “and the moment you stop learning you stop leading and your organization stops growing.” He says he has learned from both positive and negative influences as diverse as Mohandas Gandhi and George Patton. His most important role models, he says, have been Billy Graham (“a model of great integrity”), Drucker (“a personal mentor on managing rapidly growing organizations”), and his late father, a Baptist minister.