Saturday, December 31, 2011

Leadership Is Leading

Leadership is leading, seems obvious, but believe it or not, many leaders don't do the hard work of leading. Many leaders hide behind the veil of compromise, so as not to risk making enemies. There are too many leaders who just want to be nice, who don't want to hurt any feelings.

Leadership involves making the hard decisions that most people don't want to make, most don't have the chutzpa to make those real hard decisions, again, too many leaders just want to be liked.

Think of this question; would you want to be led into war by General MacArthur or be led by a General who is more concerned with everybody liking him? I'll take MacArthur anytime.

Now, I do understand that there needs to be balance, I'm all about balance. Yes, a leader can be authoritarian, and that has its own set of unique problems, but the point is that a leader must lead and make hard, tough, and unpopular decisions. Think of the father who needs to say NO to their teen; we know the teen well rant and rave, but the father who loves his teen will be more concerned for their teens emotional, physical, and spiritual health than being liked at the present moment.

We see  the balance that a leader needs to exhibit in the leadership of Christ, He made the hard, and tough decisions, but he showed compassion and empathy to those who he led. Leadership is all about balance---there are time to be hard, tough, unmovable, and there are times to be a servant, feeling the hurt and pains of those who are following your leadership.

Leaders lead, and make the hard decisions without any regard for your vain need to be liked. The need to be liked is a curse on leadership. Lead with the balance that Christ exhibited in his life; firm and loving leadership needs to be the goal of all leaders.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Leadership Passion

Thom Rainer, in his 2005 book Breakout Churches, lists PASSION in leadership as the one ingredient that kept showing up in all the churches that had a "breakout moment. So I ask, where does a leader get passion, you can't buy passion at your local Walmart store, you can't get it by working-out at the local gym, so where does a leader get his passion?

Passion is that powerful and compelling emotion that drives a leader to reach his goals, or to fulfill his mission or vision. Without passion, no leader has ever lasted long enough to reach his goal. Without passion all leaders will fall into the slough of despond or the swamp of despair.

So, what is the fuel that feeds passion? What is the fuel that keeps passion alive in the leaders core being? Certainly, for the follower of Christ it is a surrendered heart and will to the King, to the Lord of the universe. The Leader who becomes a servant of Christ is fueled by the power of his King's vision, he is fueled and empowered by the love that he owes to his King.

When Leaders align themselves with Christ's vision for His church, they will be filled with passion and empowered to carry out their King's mission. Any leader who has been in a leadership position for any length of time will tell you that they are always realigning their lives to God's plan and His vision. This aligning of the leader's life to the will of Christ is what the apostle Paul meant when he said,  "For to me, living means living for Christ" (Philippians 1:21).

Rainer's research team discovered that leadership passion manifests itself when leaders have a clear grasp of their ministry passions (p.117). This clear grasp of ministry passion comes when the leader aligns himself with the King's vision.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

We Need To Finish Well

Winston Churchill, the great Author and Prime Minister during World War II, noted that "we rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they attempt."

Great leadership will be evaluated by how well you finish, so to all the young leaders who have taken on the grave responsibility to lead, lead with an eye towards the finish line. Leadership presents many traps and pit falls, so young leader be aware of your own dark side and be willing to take out your own right eye or take off your own right arm if they will cause you to not lead well to the end.

Robert Clinton, in his 1989 research on Biblical Leaders found four crucial implications of leadership from a Biblical study of leaders. The most noted finding in this research is that few leaders finished well.

Leaders, let's follow one of the greatest leaders of all time, the great Apostle Paul, as he tells us that he fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


One aspect of leadership that is absent from most books is the dimension of faith. Faith certainly takes leadership to a whole new level. Now, I can already hear the boos from the crowd, so let me silence the critics real quick. I'm not talking about the faith that says, "let me jump off this building and believe that God will protect me."

But I'm talking about a faith that trusts and relies on God to do some big things in our lives and in the lives of those who we lead. I think of Moses and Joshua who led with faith and EXPECTED God to do great things.

If you're leading others, lead with faith, believing that God can bust into any situation and turn things around for His Glory and Honor.

Steve Furtick, in his book Sun Stand Still sums up this kind of faith filled leadership this way when he says:

Dream God-worthy dreams. Pray faith-fueled prayers. Live a life that can be explained only by the existence of a God who is infinitely great.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recommended Readings

It is always interesting to see what others are reading and what books have had the most impact on their lives. I would like to share a few of the leadership books that have had the most impact on my own life as a leader.

Here is my list of leadership books in no particular order of importance:

Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership, by Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima. Sr.

Leadership Next, by Eddie Gibbs

Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute

The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence, by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, Ken McElrath

Pathways to Success, by Dale Carnegie

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin

Linchpin: Are you Indispensably? by Seth Godin

Intuitive Leadership: Embracing A Paradigm Of Narrative,Metaphor, and Chaos, by Tim Keel

Life and Work on Leadership: Enduring Insights fro Men and Women of Faith, by Stephen R. Graves and Thomas G. Addington

Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare To Ask God For The Impossible, by Steven Furtick

The Book on Leadership, by John MacArthur

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