Are YOU a leader?

J. Oswald Sanders, the author of the classic Spiritual Leadership, says:

Leadership is INFLUENCE: the ability of one person to influence others to follow his or her lead.

So, do you influence those around you?

Are you a spouse, a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend, someone with a job or who volunteers?  If so, you influence those around you, and YOU are a leader!

Once you’ve established that you are a leader, you have a huge decision to make . . . what kind of leader are you doing to be?

As leaders, we have been entrusted with much. Luke 12:48b has been the verse of the Bible that has hit me the hardest and caused me to take my leadership seriously: 

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

That’s a big challenge to chew on. And an even harder challenge to accept.

In the next article, we’ll delve into what I believe to be the BEST kind of leader – a Servant Leader. But for now, let’s start with some examples of the typical Command and Control leader that is prevalent in our society. Have you ever been led by someone like this?

  1. I lead by barking out orders. That’s how good leaders lead.
  2. I make those I lead guess what I expect, and then jump all over them when they can’t read my mind about what they should be doing.
  3. There’s no need to really listen to or understand what my kids are going through; it’s just a stage, and they’ll get over it.
  4. I don’t give feedback along the way; if they get bad enough, I’ll just punish or fire them.
  5. It’s my way or the highway.
  6. It’s OK if I lie, cheat, or steal a little – I’ll probably get away with it anyway; after all, I’m in charge.
  7. I expect my kids and employees to do the job I tell them; they shouldn’t need any recognition for it.

How does the environment at home or work look with this Command and Control leader in charge? Is work or “life” happening in the best possible way? Are people growing and thriving? And be honest, how many of us have done some of those same things, or have at least thought some of those same thoughts?

Command and Control leaders have been damaging those they lead for thousands of years. In Mark chapter 10:42-45, Jesus addresses the Command and Control leadership culture of the day, and calls us to a very different kind of leadership:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.

Not so with you.

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 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.”

Servant leadership, not command and control leadership, is returning as the preferred style by many in both business and non-profit organizations today.