The Delightful Way


On Life and Leadership
May 29, 2006, 2:49 am
Filed under: Warrior

Tonight I went to the wonderful young adults Bible study. Although the study was fruitful, the fellowship afterwards was even more so. Mr. S, the leader, shared much wisdom with me about several topics.
How to tell if you are in God’s Will
God has called us to adversity. His will is difficult, because our flesh does not want to do His will. That internal conflict results in the difficulties we so often experience. Additionally, failures on our part is not cause for discouragement. “The Lord has made everything for its purpose,” even our mistakes. God’s complex ways mean that a mistake by me impacts, positively, many people. I would note an interesting principle learned last fall while observing multiple hurricanes close up and personal: The trees in hurricane-prone areas (such as Miami and Pensacola) held up to significantly stronger waves than the trees in calmer areas (such as Jasper County, TX). The reason, we were told, was the winds and storms developed strength and endurance in the trees. As Chuck Colson remarked, “The higher the winds, the deeper the roots. The longer the winds, the more beautiful the tree will become.”

The psychology of leadership
You cannot become a leader, because a leader is something you are. You do not develop leadership, you are a leader. Good leadership comes from good followship. What many people think of as leadership is actually responsibilities, which come and go and do not define who we are. When given responsibilities to lead a group of people, you are not entering a popularity contest. You need to do what it takes, primarily in setting the example, to gain the respect of your followers. If they respect you, they will want to become like you—like what you are, not what you say. On the flipside, if what you are and what you say are both similar and noble, you will gain their respect. Since the ultimate thing a leader wants is to have his followers follow him, then he needs first to gain and keep their respect. Once he has that, he needs to be sure to follow his authority closely. As he is a good follower, so his followers will become good followers.
This is a profound and often neglected concept in leadership.
If you are a good leader, you will have followers attack you. The attacks are not personal; instead they are merely psychological attempts to reduce “guilt.” The follower wishes to be like you but is experiencing difficulty in achieving that. To reduce the pain/pity/guilt, he or she attacks you, attempting to mentally denigrate you. By lowering you, they feel less bad about not being like you.
Again, this is a profound and highly applicable concept rarely discussed. And it applies to more than the obvious positional leadership. It applies to any situation where you are a leader—relationships, counseling, etc.

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2 Comments so far
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Hey, I’m so happy I’ve got the link. Now I’m going to be checking this as constantly as I can! I can’t wait to catch up and hear your thoughts on some things….. 🙂

God bless!
-Sam

Comment by Samuel Van Eerden

Thanks for inviting me to “read your thoughts” ;-).

Regarding God’s will, I believe that the difficulty that you reference is with respect to doing the right thing. If you follow God’s principles, then you are acting according to His will and this is difficult. It’s always easier to do the wrong thing, but God condemns this and even the unrighteous will grow weary of it when you affect them. This is why it’s common to observe that someone must be doing the right thing because their coming under a great degree of scrutiny or even persecution. Here’s a good article dealing with God’s will by John Thompson (don’t miss the accompanying article entitled, “Talking Biblically About Feelings”).

With regard to leadership, remember that a good leader is a submissive one. Every leader is under some authority and ideally they are transparent between the subjects and the ultimate authority. Read Paul’s epistles to learn the type of leadership that he practiced and taught, especially the first half of 1 Corinthians. A good leader speaks truth, abides by the truth and listens to the truth. So, it’s not the leader who inspires any respect, but the truth itself. A man of truth is a man of God who desires no respect of his person, but seeks to be transparent to the leadership of his Master. A follower of Christ never follows men, but only follows the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. The leader is just a messenger (i.e. an instrument of the author of the message) and is subject to failure just like any other man… even the ones that he may “lead.” You’ll save yourself much disappointment if you remember this because men will ultimately fail you, but God never will.

May God continue to bless you in your studies!

Mark

Comment by Mark Hebert




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