If it is essential it is absolutely necessary. The importance-factor of what is essential moves leadership to a new level.
However, the challenge is determining what is essential and what is not. Spiritually speaking, there are a number of components that play a key role in the area of essentiality.
1) Character: The late General Schwarzkoph said, “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” Character is essential to success.
2) Passion: Although we often think of passion as enthusiasm or excitement, the origin of the word involves suffering and sacrifice. The willingness to sacrifice is essential for leadership.
3) Vision: Vision is not about what is seen, but seeing what is unseen, about insight. Faith is the factor necessary for the development of leadership vision and vision is essential to spiritual leadership.
4) Goals: David Swartz said, “Goals are as essential to success as air is to life.” Without goals we have no way of knowing where we are going.
These are only four areas, but they are essential to our leadership.
Imagine how different our lives would be if we wrote a “rule of life.” The idea behind this concept is to focus on our purpose in life.
Before considering the connection to leadership, answer the following questions.
Have we ever sat down and written out our purpose of life?
Why are we pursuing the course in life we are pursuing?
What do we want to achieve and get out of life?
Would we be willing to write down our purpose in life?
What implications would exist with having a written purpose for life?
Knowing and reminding ourselves of our purpose in life will continue to keep us focused on the impact of our words and actions.
Having a “rule of life” gives us meaning and hope for what the future holds.
A rule of life changes the way we see God, develop family, and influence others.
At some point sharing our rule of life with others encourages others to do the same. Remember, our rule of life should incorporate our understanding of God, His working in our life, and our desire to glorify Him.
“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” Henri Nouwen
We are all familiar with the expression, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Answering the questions presented by Nouwen are foundational to caring for others.
When Paul wrote the church at Philippi, his emphasis and theme spoke to the need of putting others above self. Centered around the example of Jesus, Paul identified several, including himself, who were concerned about the brethren at Philippi.
Imagine what the church would be like today if, at the end of the day, everyone took the time to answer the six questions above. If we focused on putting others above ourselves: their needs, concerns, cares, worries, and desires, the church and this world would sure be a better place.
While the root of these two words is the same, they have a major difference. The first involves the feelings of the recipient and the second involves the intention of the contributor.
Consider the second thought.
The possibility exists that someone can be intimidating and not be aware of it. This is not the intention or motivation. A person simply carries his or herself in such a way it exudes an intimidating presence.
If this is the case, we should learn to make necessary adjustments to overcome this persona.
However, it is not uncommon for leaders to feel they need to be intimidating to accomplish or achieve their goal or purpose.
This style of leadership will only create a temporary and false sense of accomplishment. In the end, people do not want to follow such leaders. If they do, it is only because they feel trapped. Hope is lost and there is no purpose for the future.
People should not be intimidated by leaders and leaders should not be intimidating.
We are leading people to heaven and they need leaders who give them hope! Think Souls.
While this phrase may be overused, it expresses a thought worthy of application.
Two key words represent the significance of this phrase: expect and prepare. Every leader needs to possess and portray a high level of expectation as well as preparation.
Sadly, the opposite mindset often exists. Leaders can expect the worst, while preparing for the best. They tend to be pessimistic, even though they desire positive results. In the end, the final analysis leads to a leadership that confuses followers and creates a lack of trust.
Turn this around, however, and a leader can present an optimistic confidence by which followers develop certainty and conviction.
Leaders must always expect the best because the result instills hope in all who follow. The key element is preparation. To be prepared for the worst, leaders must consider a few questions:
1) What is the worst possible scenario?
2) Who will be affected if this happens?
3) What actions need to be taken to prevent the worst case scenario?
4) How will we respond if the worst case occurs?
These four ideas prepare a foundation for leadership success by minimizing the opportunity for the worst.
One of the greatest qualities of leaders is the ability to elevate or stimulate someone morally or spiritually.
Too often, the primary place of influence is the pulpit and it can easily become a place where we seek to support agendas, pet peeve’s, a hobby horse, or the latest religious fad.
Consider two key principles for public preaching:
1) A reminder of what the Bible says about sin is good, but unless the entire congregation is caught up in a specific sin, pointing out the specific sins of a few does not elevate the brethren morally or spiritually. Approach those caught in a trespass in a biblical manner and save the pulpit for encouragement.
2) Remember, those assembling together on Sunday (at least the majority) assemble because they want to do what God says. These faithful brethren strive to live according to God’s will. The time we are given is an opportunity to encourage them, lift them up. Using this time to belittle, degrade, or condemn them is counter-productive.
Much more could be said, but consider the importance and value of lifting others up in leading them to the cross.
Growing up, most of us knew the menu when mom said, “P B and J.” A peanut butter and jelly sandwich seemed to speak of a healthy lunch, the perfect combination of protein, grains, and carbohydrates. Although subjective, few items go together in the same way.
From a leadership perspective, P B and J carry another important thought.
Promise: Leaders hold promise for a better tomorrow. While emphasizing the superiority of Christ, the writer of the book of Hebrews points out that Jesus provides a better promise because of the better hope in His sacrifice.
Belonging: Every person wants and needs to fit in. A sense of acceptance exists when we belong. Leaders who make it possible for others to belong possess the ability to give others the security of a stable environment.
Journey: The path to success brings numerous challenges, but also rewards. Success is not about a destination, it is the journey. How good and bad are perceived throughout the journey determines the level of success.
The next time we hear P B and J, maybe we can remember the leadership connection.