Is there anything talked about today as much as leadership? Bookshelves bulge with the latest titles on the subject. Seminars are offered on every aspect of leadership. You may attend the seminars live, or via webinar. You can get a coach, listen to podcasts, subscribe to the latest musings from self-appointed gurus. In this age of information overload it is easy to just turn it all off and hibernate from leadership training and development.
Everyone models leadership at some level and in multiple ways. We observe and learn about how to lead ourselves through the daily routines. We must determine if are we going to discipline ourselves and take control of life, and not merely react to the events that come our way?
My life has centered around church leadership. Leading volunteers to be the best that they can be for the Lord. Leadership must begin with a vision of a preferred future. The desire to be better, more organized, more in control, and disciplined. Leadership is usually understood to be something I am doing to help or benefit others. In fact self-leadership is where leadership is needed most. Until we come to understand that leadership begins with us, we will never be effective leaders of others.
Is leadership just a buzz word or is there something to be gained by studying and learning and improving our ability to lead? Leadership does not always follow formal patterns based on structures or place. There are many folks who operate as leaders who have no formal leadership positions. Their leadership is based on the fact that others see them as influencers. Not necessarily do these people seem themselves as leaders but they have positive influence on others.
We are told that charity begins at home, leadership also begins there as well. More specifically, I must work out my leadership beliefs and theories on myself. Leadership really starts and ends with self-discipline and time management. If we can’t influence ourselves to change, we will never be a trusted or respected leader. Leadership is influence, the first persons who should be influenced is ourselves. Do I live out what I expect from others? Do I keep myself in check? These and other questions need to be asked often.
One component of leadership that one rarely hears discussed, is the fact to be a good leader you also have to be a good follower. A Christian leader needs to be a follower of Jesus. Some have the mistaken idea that being a leader is being a boss and in charge. It was said of Jesus “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus is the example of servant leadership. All of us have had someone who served us, and by serving us, led us to make changes or go in a different direction. A good exercise for each of us is to determine to serve someone today. It is better when we serve someone who is not in a place to serve us in return. Do an act of kindness, perform a task, or bless them in any number of ways. Not only will you feel better, you will be exercising true leadership.