[Note: This week, I hope to remind myself of things that will make 2018 a good year for me and for the people around me. Maybe they’ll speak to you too.]
#3– Life Tip for a New Year: Not All Leaders Are Created Equal
Yes, everybody gets a trophy these days but not all leaders are equal. I find in Church Word – and I believe it’s also true in Academic World, Medical World, Banking World, Sports World and every other world – that we often have people in leadership positions who are not good leaders.
Maybe they rose to their position because they fulfilled a demographic but demographics don’t guarantee passion or fitness for a particular role. I was once asked to chair a Singles Ministry in my first Presbytery because I was single. Nobody asked me if I had a vision for this. Nobody asked me if I had energy for this particular ministry. (I didn’t.)
Maybe “nobody else would do it” which means that we should stop doing whatever “it” is, until there is indeed deep calling and commitment to that thing. If nobody wants to lead Vacation Bible School, don’t have Vacation Bible School this year. Just don’t. One of two things will happen: 1) Someone who’s been shy about stepping up – even though he/she feels inspired to do it – is nudged enough to step up or 2) Vacation Bible School has become something “we have to do” not something that makes a positive impact in our community. If nobody wants to be in charge of the next project that your organization “always does” just don’t do it – at least this year.
Maybe someone aspires to be a leader but they have no followers. Something I learned in Community Organizing Training: All Strong Leaders have followers. Notice who on your board does not inspire others, and when it’s time to recruit new members, look for people whom others will get behind.
Strong leaders have the trust of their people to the point that they inspire energy and vision while also holding people accountable. Their people feel safe and supported. Communication is excellent and the only surprises are birthday parties.
You know what weak leaders do.
I pray for solid leadership training in this new year whether we spend our lives shepherding churches, hospitals, businesses, or sports teams. There is so much we can do to make this world better.
Who will lead us? There are some excellent choices out there.
Image of the great John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches and leaders of our time, upon his death at the age of 99.