It doesn’t take a lot for me to be negative about leadership principles, theories, practices, or techniques. It is far too easy to implement a business strategy in a church and miss out on Jesus, his call, his lead, his plan, his methods, his church. But without selling our souls to leadership theory, I think that it is helpful to learn a little bit from good leadership. There’s enough bad leadership out there to give it a bad rap for sure.
Drawing from various classes and the wisdom of some mentors, here are some things that have been passed along to me:
– Leaders remove obstacles.
– Leaders enable people to move together toward a vision/goal/dream/choose your jargon.
– Leaders serve by leading.
That’s a short, incomplete list. Are there any “team players” out there who want to share any gems of their own? Well, in any case, this is enough to begin.
It’s funny, all of the good leadership qualities never meant anything to me until I saw poor leadership. Poor leadership is a wonderful tutor. You notice that things are not quite how they should be. Your motivation is low, you’re watching out for yourself and not caring how you affect those around you, overtime is a cruel shackel that keeps you from your loved ones, and so forth. Of course you can always do things better, but suddenly you realize that something else is amiss. You can spot it a mile away in a Dilbert strip because so many people live with it.
Though many readers of Dilbert wouldn’t know leadership gurus Max Depree or Peter Drucker from Olaf Kolzig, and though they may have never cracked a leadership book, they suddenly connect with the concept of poor leadership. The leader is not watching out for the best of his employees, he’s not helping them work as a team, he poisons relationships, and their goal is to keep a healthy distance from him and his whims. We know its all wrong, and yet we have not been to a single seminar.
It’s absolutely fascinating that we almost need to be trained how to use power properly. It’s so easy to be self-serving and destructive once we’re in the driver’s seat, forgetting so many of the good principles of leadership and forgetting that little ditty beginning with, “Do unto others . . .” I think it becomes, “Do unto others . . . before they do unto you!”
With my own forays into leadership I have found that it is hard to serve, to look out for the long-term interests of the group, and to keep everyone focused on a common goal. It is far easier to hack off a troublesome branch than to carefully prune it back to health. What happens when we get a little bit of power? How can such common sense ideas as “team work” fall prey to our selfish ambitions?