Leadership Stinks

You’ve all heard it said, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!”  Well……that’s leadership!

I know the idea of being the big cheese is really appealing when you feel like one of the crumblies in the bottom of the box.  I’ve been there.  There’s always a better way…a better idea…a better (fill in the blank).  But there is a very hard side to leadership that isn’t all that visible.  It’s the side that keeps you up late at night because your gut is churning.  It’s the side that won’t let your brain shut down when all you want to do is vegetate.  It’s the side that screams “I don’t want too!” when you know you have too.

Twice this week, I’ve had to engage in very difficult discussions that I would much rather have not had.  Leadership is a constant tension between the “Fight or Flee” syndrome.  Is it worth fighting for?  Is it worth going to the mat for?  Is it worth risking this relationship for?  Is it worth the emotional effort and energy?  And quite frankly, these discussions, while ones I would have preferred not having, fell into the category of “must”. 

Then there’s always the aftermath of following through with a decision.  When I was in the Army, we had a pearl of wisdom that basically said that every battle plan is great until the first bullet flies.  Then everything changes.  That’s a lot like leadership.  No matter how much planning and thought and preparation you put into one of the issues you “must” address, it all changes because you can never accurately predict responses and reactions.  Leadership and ministry are both messy businesses.  And when you put them together, it can be doubly taxing. 

In the end though, the man in a position of spiritual leadership must stand before an Almighty and Holy God and give an account for the way he leads, the decisions he makes, the choices that follow.  It is a sobering position to be in.

Hebrews 13:7,17 – Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith…..v17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. 

Wow!  Talk about a load of responsibility.  Trust me, it looks much easier from the outside looking in than it really is.  I’ve been on both sides of the coin.  I know what I’m talking about.  But regardless of how much you know you need to lead,  there are times you need another perspective, a kick in the pants, something to help remind you of the tasks and responsibilities of leadership.  I came across a great list over on Jon Ferguson’s blog.  He’s part of the staff at Community Christian Churchin Naperville, IL.  They have created an amazing ministry there and part of it can be attributed to great leadership. 

If you’re already a leader, this list may spur you, provoke you, rebuke you, or affirm you.  If you’re not in a leadership role, it will help you see what leaders go through and what leadership looks like from the inside. 


You Know You’re Not Leading When . . .

Ever catch yourself not leading?  Of course you have.  When I find myself not leading the way I believe  God has called me to lead, I ask myself, “What does it look like for me to really be a leader in this situation?  Maybe this will help you know when you are slipping a little bit.You know you are not leading when . . .

  • You wait for someone to tell you what to do rather than taking the initiative yourselfBlindleading_4
  • You spend too much time talking about how things should be different
  • You blame the context, surroundings, or other people for your current situation
  • You choose not to speak the truth in love
  • You are more concerned about being cool or accepted than doing the right thing
  • You seek consensus, rather than casting vision for a preferable future
  • You aren’t taking any significant risks
  • You accept status quo as the way it’s always been and always will be
  • You start protecting your reputation instead of opening yourself up to opposition
  • You sleep a little too sound
  • You procrastinate to avoid making a tough call
  • You talk to others about the problem rather than taking it to the person responsible
  • You don’t feel like your butt is on the line for anything significant
  • You think what you say doesn’t matter
  • You ask for way too many opinions before taking action

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