Friday, February 12, 2010

if called to lead...lead!

This past Monday I gave a talk in our daily chapel service on the concept of "vocation" - what it means to be called by God to give glory to Him and to serve one's neighbor. Cloaked under a larger theme of "a theology of leadership," I spoke to the idea that some are called to the vocation of leadership and how an understanding of vocation can shape one's leadership. I kept coming back to this phrase that when one is called to lead, they then need to LEAD! Let me try to explain what I mean by that...

How many times in our lives have we - or others - discounted the call to leadership? We often hear people say such things as:
  • I'm not really a leader
  • I really don't have time for that
  • There's someone else better than me
  • Why would anyone follow me?
  • I'll do it for awhile, but then you need to let me go back to what I like to do

These type of lines/excuses drive me crazy! It's almost as if people wear a badge of honor proving how much they can dismiss the idea of leadership. It's an interesting paradox in that while we are all enamored with leadership, we also distrust leaders. It seems to be a love/hate relationship, and that bleeds into our own call to such a position. How might we turn that notion around so that leadership and leaders can be embraced?

  1. See leadership as a calling - a holy position to which one has been called by God. The Book of Romans, found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, calls leadership a gift from God - and if one has this gift they are to "govern diligently." I translate "govern diligently" as "LEAD!"
  2. Recognize the fact that we are all in community with others, and therefore will be called to a role of leadership sometime or other. We may not seek it out, but the mantle of leadership will fall on us whether we want it or not - it may not be a formal/named position (and most likely will NOT be), but we will be put in a position where we will need to influence people toward a shared goal, and if we are, then we need to LEAD!
  3. Begin to honor those who have been called to a position of leadership. I wrote several weeks ago how followers often question the decisions leaders make (and how that is not necessarily a bad thing). However, followers also need to realize that God has called these individuals into these leadership roles, and in realizing that, these leaders should receive honor. When given that honor, these leaders have a much better chance to LEAD!
  4. People in positions of leadership need to understand that their job is to LEAD! - and they do not have the choice of NOT leading. If I was called to be a fire fighter, my job would be to respond to fires and do whatever was needed to put them out (A special shout out here to Kurt Bennet - check out his blog and book). It would not work for a fire fighter to sit idlely by and worry what others thought about his fire fighting skills, or if she did nothing because she was afraid of hurting another fire fighter's feelings, or if they refused to learn how to fight a fire with the latest fire fighting equipment, or merely learned to fight fires by what they had observed other fire fighters doing during their lives. Yet that is how many leaders act - they shirk their responsibility, they are afraid to make decisions, and they don't develop as a leader by reading, studying, practicing, observing, testing, and improving as a leader. People placed into leadership positions need to learn HOW to lead and then LEAD!

Enough - my time is running short on this topic, and I need to leave today's blog and go LEAD! My final thought to you today is if you are in a position of leadership, don't be afraid to LEAD! You have been called by God into this marvelous vocation of leadership (whether you have a title or not) and have been graced by God with the gift of leadership. Now, go forth and LEAD!...and make a diffrerence in the lives of others who are looking to you to assist them in making the world a better place.


gmoore said...

Excellant Advice!

Mark said...

I agree with the previous bring up some great points, Don. I work for a nonprofit that studies the leadership practices, especially where employee engagement is concerned, in small businesses, and some of the most successful ones we've found are ones in which the President/CEO spends more time rallying the troops and serving as "chief culture officer" (some of them actually refer to themselves with that title) than on the business side -- especially if they believe strongly in the abilities of their biz development director and/or controller/accounting manager.

Don Christian said...

I think the idea of a chief culture officer is brilliant - we are considering (OK - I think it would be a good idea) to have VP's in our organization not bew representatives or leadeers of "budget areas" but to cut across boundaries - the CCO (culture) would affect everyo9ne in the organization