Maxwell has said, "Everything rises and falls on ... leadership," but
what does that really mean? To me, there are many, many strong leaders
who like to push and shove and get their way and insert their opinions
everywhere, but how is that leading people anywhere? They are dragging
people down, not raising them up (or leading them in any good
direction). Even in the Church world so many leaders are following the
example of the Pharisees and exalting themselves, while pushing down
others. This can't be considered leadership. Leadership is taking
people somewhere. Leadership like Christ is coming underneath others
and serving them in order to help them fulfill their God given
potential. Real leadership means the leader takes the lead by putting
in more effort. So many mentorship teachings out there on how to be a
good mentee and serve spiritual authority. I think mentors need to
learn to put in the effort, serve and maybe even practice some reverse
mentoring (recognizing the spiritual authority in those we lead). The
type of mentor I want is someone who doesn't let me call them mentor,
but friend. That's the person I would call spiritual father (even
though I don't like the term - Matt. 23:9, NLT). Even the great
Apostle Paul, someone who deserved to be called all sorts of glorious
terms often called those he raised up (and served) co-workers ...
friends and partners in Christ.
friend Alex told me a business principle related to this by Harvard
Business Review in a book called What Really Works. One of the four
main principles they've located in the most successful organizations in
the world is "creating a flat organization" by cutting out
bureaucracy. In other words, teaching the leaders to raise up other
leaders and empowering them to lead, rather than creating a
followership or personality cult. I'd like to see that. I'd like to
see humble leaders and mentors who change and morph based on the good
qualities they find in those they mentor and raise up.
leadership can sometimes become a generalized word that is hard to
digest or make sense of, kinds of like the word Christianity. To me,
real leadership, good leadership is taking people somewhere. Taking
people up. Causing good change in the lives of others. Hitler was a
strong leader, but can we call that leadership? He provided an opiate
for the masses, and brought an enlightened nation back into the dark
age of human depravity. One of the Nazi regime's goals was to
eliminate education except for their agendas - to keep people in the
dark intellectually so they could more easily "lead" them. Sort of
like what's happening in the middle east in some areas today with
education. How can any of this be classified as leadership? This
isn't leadership, it's destruction.
I believe everything rises
and falls on encouragement, and that this is the core of leadership.
Have you had someone encourage you lately? I'm not talking about
puffery, although that would be nice in a world with so little praise.
A true leader must learn to be optimistic about their own life and
future and others. When we cut others down and constantly critique
(micromanage) we reduce leadership to destruction and make followers
dependent on us, which is not truly leading them in any good
direction. Rather, praise and encourage the good things you see in
their lives. Bring change by encouraging the good and you will fill
the hot air balloon of their future so they can rise to new heights.
It seems like our world likes to praise so little that we move from
week to week on one starving morsel of good. Scripture tells us we
will go from "glory to glory" and "strength to strength." I pray we
can become true leaders, good leaders like Barnabus who are able to see
the Apostolic in people like Paul and encourage it out of them.