This common phrase changes everything about how a situation, project, plan, or goal is approached.
When an individual has “skin in the game” there is a level of commitment that moves one to greater action in achieving the desired result.
Skin in the game might involve money, time, ability, or even life itself. When a leader knows they must be invested, their commitment increases because failing to accomplish the goal will cost them something.
Leadership in the Bible seems to follow this line of thinking. David understood the need for skin in the game as he offered sacrifice to God in 2 Samuel 24:24. He would not offer anything to God that did not cost him something.
The beauty of this thought is that if leaders will invest some skin in the game, they will find followers willing to do the same.
Leaders will also find it is a little more difficult to just simply walk away from their charge when they are invested.
Leadership will cost us something. What we must recognize is that with God, it is worth the investment.
A principle indicates a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
Perhaps a more relevant application, or simplified approach, involves a rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior.
As leaders, several questions are important to consider regarding this thought.
1) Why should we have principles to govern behavior?
2) What rule or belief governs our personal behavior?
3) Do we have a rule or belief in place for this purpose?
4) Are these rules or beliefs based on humanistic or biblical foundations?
5) Will others see consistency between our principles and behavior?
A life lived by biblical principles will always influence others. Principles that are consistently lived will also directly relate to the integrity needed for powerful leadership.
When leaders answer these questions in relationship to principles and behavior, the steps to harmonize them will develop a leadership worth following.
How would we determine a true leader? One way was given by Douglas MacArthur, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”
MacArthur is known for his leadership, a leadership that stands as exemplary when considering the U.S. Army’s influence in World War II.
Five words are found in this statement that have powerful direction to the leadership that should exist among God’s people today.
Confidence – We need confidence in who our God is and the power of His word to save souls.
Courage – Leaders must demonstrate courage in times when courage is needed most.
Compassion – This Christlike quality is one that should characterize spiritual leaders.
Equality – Although it is not always easy, a leaders’ actions must be consistent.
Integrity – Few areas are more important, and yet so difficult, than walking with integrity.
May we all determine to become a true leader with each of these qualities.
Endurance is never needed when life is good. We need endurance during the times when life does not deliver up to our expectations.
During those difficult times, we experience a range of emotions and thoughts. The initial mindset moves us to consider how we can abandon ship. We begin to think that if we could just quit, somehow everything would return to normal or get better. However, you and I both know it does not work that way.
Although the author is unknown, an interesting thought was expressed in the following statement, “The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson. Don’t give up in the middle!”
The idea is really simple: endure. When leadership experiences those moments of trial and difficulty, hang on and do not give up. Think about the adage, “If God brings us to it, He will see us through it.”
Never lose sight of that middle section. In the future, we will apply the lessons learned in the past, but between the past and future is where we need to endure.
Optimism projects hope and confidence about the future or successful outcome of a specific area.
The contrast between leaders who are optimistic and those who are not seems to be associated with age and experience. As leaders age and encounter negative experiences in life, it can hinder optimistic leadership.
The challenge is how to overcome the pessimistic tendencies and keep hope and confidence alive. Among the many possibilities, here are a few suggestions:
1) Remember, “everyone” is not against us.
2) Stop trying to live in or change the past, because we cannot.
3) Be surrounded by optimistic people who cast a vision of hope.
4) Be realistic about personal expectations.
5) Learn to accept who we are as a person.
6) Express gratitude for what we have physically and spiritually.
7) Reflect more often on the positive areas of life.
The internet is loaded with ways to develop a more optimistic focus in life. As leaders, it is worth the time we take to share optimism with those who follow.
Try it and see how contagious it becomes.
“What trails are we blazing? What paths are we cutting through the brush? And where will we end up from our efforts? But more important than that…have we left a clear path for others to follow, and if they do follow, where will they end up?” Michael Hite
I read this post a few years ago, and immediately thought of how powerful these questions are for leadership.
When we question our leadership, consideration should be given to the followers. Have we really considered where others will end up when they follow our leadership?
The choices are limited to the following and similar ideas:
1) Closer to, or further away from God…
2) More spiritually, or more worldly focused…
3) Stronger, or weaker in faith…
4) Growing, or declining in knowledge of God’s word…
There are many more possibilities, but the point is the same. Our leadership should be important enough to consider the destination followers will reach by following.
Be willing to blaze the type of trail that when others follow they reach heaven. Think Souls!
Substance is a particular kind of matter with uniform properties. However, having a technical definition does not adequately describe the power behind this word in relationship to leaders.
Substance also involves a quality of being important, valid, or significant. Simply stated, substance is the stuff that makes up leadership.
What is the substance that makes up the character of our leadership? Integrity? Work ethic? Core values?
Is there something significant that stands out giving credibility to leadership substance?
Can others see the substance of our leadership?
Only you and I can answer these questions for ourselves. The substance of spiritual leadership must not be ego-centric, but people-centric. The quality that validates the importance of leadership is not built upon “I,” but “you.” The substance of great leadership uses “we.”
When our leadership is evaluated, we need to take advantage of the opportunity to ask ourselves hard questions to determine the substance of our leadership. This is where the true character of leadership is found.
As important and needed as leadership is today, it is worth our time to focus on the substance.