One of the great challenges for leaders in any organization, yet one most needed, is the ability to work well with others.
Amy Poehler says, “As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
Anytime a leader begins to think it is quicker and easier to do the job themselves, they lose focus on one of the greatest opportunities in the arena of leadership.
When a leader feels threatened by those who think outside the box or by colleagues who are talented-gifted and demonstrate ability, they cannot achieve genuine success in leadership.
Poehler’s thought is exactly right. From a leadership perspective, life changes in proportion to our willingness to be open to work with others, to learn from their ideas, to be challenged and inspired.
If we really want to multiply the strength of the church, we need to learn the true art of teamwork.
One characteristic of biblical leaders is learning to think about the right things.
Two major portals to the gateway of our minds are our eyes and ears. While all the senses play a part, these two are primary. Sadly, we often fail to recognize the influence of what we see and hear on our thinking.
The type of language in movies or television shows, pornographic nature of advertisements or programs, jokes, and the locations we visit are only four ways we are influenced through the eyes and ears.
Paul was specific about the areas described in Philippians 4:8. The key is understanding the imperative need for our minds to dwell on these things.
Doing so requires work. We must be proactive in the way we approach the influences on our mind: movies, friends and activities.
Is our leadership influence worth having our minds filled with negativity, filth, and horror for a little entertainment?
We are in the world, but not of the world. We are to influence the world for Christ, the Light of the world, not to be influenced by the world.
How would we describe the adventure, purpose, nature, challenge, essence, opportunity, secret, spice, and beauty of life?
William Arthur Ward sums it up this way: “The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of life is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.”
Learning, growing, changing, overcoming, caring, serving, daring, befriending and giving are the key elements to the activity of great leaders.
However, additional words found in Ward’s thought are also significant to understanding our leadership. These words are connected to the opening question.
These lists are interdependent and key to a life well lived. Also, each word is intricately positioned and lend to the development of godly leaders.
Consider how we might incorporate each of these words one day or one week at time to lead as God intends us to lead.
Leadership awareness involves a knowledge or perception of the situation or fact.
Leaders need to have a self-awareness, i.e. an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, an awareness of who they are, where they are going, and how they plan to reach the destination.
Leaders also need an awareness of others, i.e. an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of those who follow, an awareness of how to help others reach their greatest potential and achieve the goals of the organization.
Leaders should also be aware of the environment, i.e. an awareness of available resources, an awareness of the obstacles, the reality of progress, and open doors of opportunity.
Having a knowledge of each situation benefits leaders in developing themselves, guiding others in developing the qualities of success, and preparing to face every obstacle with the strength needed to seize opportunities.
Spiritual leaders are leading from a dual-world mindset: physical and spiritual. The desire is to help meet the needs of the present with a focus on achieving the bigger picture of eternal magnitude.
Leading with purpose involves a direction of higher calling. The task is about helping others become leaders. Only then, by reproducing of ourselves, can we as Christians fulfill the Great Commission and change the world by teaching those who are faithful to teach others also.
John Holt said it this way: “Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see, whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head, even when things are going badly. True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders.”
With a godly mindset, may we all lead with the qualities and purpose of biblical leadership.
An interesting connection exists between these two words: suffering and glory. Take time to look through God’s word and see how they relate and the connection of each to the life of Jesus.
Certainly, we are all aware of how Jesus suffered while here on earth: the persecution he endured, despising the shame he encountered, and the ultimate sacrifice at the cross.
What is amazing is how John describes the glory of Jesus in the Revelation. Of all the terms that could have been used––sovereign Lord, Prince of peace, Mighty God, Creator, or Christ––John chose to use the term “Lamb.” Why use Lamb? Because He was the sacrifice made for the world. Suffering cannot be separated from the glory.
No one longs for or anticipates suffering. We long for and anticipate the glory to come, but we must realize the suffering related to that glory and lead with an understanding of such.
Paul identifies that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us, but suffering comes first.
Scars come in all shapes and sizes. At times, we have physical scars left from an accident or surgery. We also find emotional scars left from the pain of loss, hurt, or embarrassment.
What do our scars relate about our past? How have they shaped who we are in the present? Do they play a role in the direction of our future?
David Rossi says, “Scars show us where we have been; they do not dictate where we are going.”
The influences that leave emotional scars in life have a profound affect on where we are in the present. Any area of life that introduces pain, hurt, or embarrassment often alters our view of the world around us.
However, these moments must not dictate the direction of our future. As spiritual leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure a better future for those we lead. The people of God form a family that provides a refuge for those who hurt from the pain of the past or present. We have an opportunity to make a difference where it matters most. Think about the scars of Jesus. Think Souls.