Watching a recent UK TV series called ‘The Apprentice’, I saw a group of young and hopeful business leaders competing with each other for a top job. The leadership style was thrusting, egotistical, self-focused, combatant and therefore weak and ineffective. It amazes me that so many models of leadership are like this and that leaders equate leadership with an answer to their ambitious hearts. Climbing the ranks is equated with succeeding rather than effective leadership of others being the goal. From a Christian standpoint this is a flawed understanding of the purpose and application of leadership.
Leadership works better – when the focus of the role is shifted to leading in such a way that the highest Kingdom potential of the follower is achieved. This places a facilitative dynamic firmly in the realm and remit of the leader and takes away the self-seeking element.
Leadership works better – when the above is being fulfilled leadership is seen to have a major development motif. Jesus was developing His disciples into the leaders that they would need to be for the infant church, not, as in some cases with Christian leaders, growing a group of sycophants who will serve the leader. Leadership must be ‘Othersward’!
Leadership works better – when transparency is demonstrated and the myth of the ‘semi-divine leader’ is put down. This is not the giving a ‘public airing to all your dark secrets’ so much as being ordinary and helping people to recognise that leadership is about gifting and role as opposed to a different form of humanity.
Leadership works better – when the leader recognises that wisdom is a gift and a dynamic that God has given to humanity. It is added to by the journey of life and the faith walk. It is not simply something that those in leadership have as a reward for leading.
Leadership works better – when the above is understood to mean that others have wisdom too and using the combined wisdom of the group not only adds to the level of wisdom but also enables others to engage and own the journey.
Leadership works better – when leaders understand that the very necessary vision does not always come from the leader. Vision from the group is no less valuable as vision.
Leadership works better – when leaders are modelling a Christ-centred life and owning up to their own struggles in so doing. This works well also when they are honest about their own spiritual life and development because so many Christians are under the impression that Christian leaders have got it all worked out…..?
Leadership works better – when leaders work hard on their own growth and development of character. Hiding my own ambitions and desires behind my office is a common mistake. There is a great cry from the Church Worldwide for leaders with character and honesty!
Leadership works better – when leaders accept help for their own development. When problem solvers are confronted by their own problems they are often among the last to recognise them and deal with them.
Leadership works better – when leaders treat people of all genders, races and from all walks of life with equal love, value and respect as the starting place…….when education is seen as valuable for all but not available to all. When linear thought and literacy are seen as the remit of the minority world as opposed to a way of valuing people groups differently. Celebrating difference is in some way an act of worship of a God who birthed diversity.
Leadership works better when these dynamics are given adequate focus. As the Lausanne Conference is about to start I imagine that many of you who have been engaging with these blogs could add to the list of - Leadership works better. Feel free to respond and fill out this list and may God grant us mercy and Grace in His name to be better leaders.