What’s going to happen if you don’t lead? Nothing. Why? Because leadership matters. However, while leadership is important, there is something even more important!
Before we boil this down, lets think about it. Maybe you had a younger brother or sister who followed you everywhere you went. Now remember, at that point you hadn’t accomplished much of anything. Right? O.K, maybe you were taller or you could run faster. Maybe you were a better basketball player. But other than that, there were people out their with far greater accomplishments than you. So what made your little sister or brother look up to you they way they did. Chances are it was because you had a good relationship with them. Moreover, they’d known you their entire life and you were one of the first people they had a relationship with. They did not idolize you because you were taller, smarter or faster- though that may have been part of it- they followed you because you had a relationship. And chances are they followed you less when your relationship was strained.
Fast forward now. If you’re not careful, you can make the mistake of focusing on only one person as you pursue leadership- yourself. You can fall for the lie that it’s all about you. That you have to put yourself first if you want to get ahead. You see it in the headlines. On the news. Lets face it, you’re living in an iGeneration. It’s all about you, you, you. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?
We’re all wired to look out for #1. As a leader, the danger arises when you become self-absorbed and neglect others. Life becomes a sprint toward the top. If you walk on others in the process, so be it. The key is your accomplishments. Your advanced degree. Your reputation. Your resume. Nobody said it has to be that way.
Up until the time of Christ, it was common to boast about your own credentials. People bragged about the wars they’d won. The homes they owned. Their wealth. You name it. People considered humility to be shameful. Why go to the bottom of the heap when you could be on top. Jesus on the other hand, humbled himself and pitched his tent among us.
So what is more important than accomplishments? Relationships. Everything moves at the speed of them and flows out of them. No relationship, no leadership.
The reverse is true. Leaders don’t focus on their own accomplishments, they focus on the accomplishments of others. They bring out the best game in others. In the process, those they lead make sure they get all the recognition and promotion they could ever want.
The world’s best leaders have figured out that their torch loses nothing by kindling the torch of another. They understand it is more blessed to give than to receive. They don’t look for others to light a fire in them, they ignite others
The great news is there are potential leaders every where you look. You can find them in the marketplace, on the street corner, at work, in the church and in your own home.
Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” Matt. 6:19-20.
If you look back in your own life, you’ll find the people you influenced the most, were not impressed with your accomplishments, they were impressed with you. They knew you had their best interests in mind….that you cared for them.
Chances are if you’re leadership is suffering right now with a particular person it’s because your relationship with them is limping. Don’t stop there. Take the first step. As a leader, it’s your job to reignite the relationship. Call them. Arrange a get together over coffee. Send them a note of encouragement. But whatever you do, don’t expect them to follow if you’re not leading.
Those who follow you could care less about your trophies. What they really want is to know that you care!