Tuesday, November 18, 2008

what I learned today

I love this line from Seth Godin, "When you identify the discomfort, you've found the place where a leader is needed."

That is so true, think about it. What are some of the times when a leader is most needed?

  • when two sides cannot agree
  • when there needs to be a quick decision made that everyone can get behind
  • when strategy changes
  • when vision needs to be re-cast
  • when people are discouraged or unorganized
If everyone is on board and moving in the right direction, new leadership is not necessary. But the minute focus is lost, people refuse to agree and work together - that's the time for leadership. Now the discussion becomes, what is great leadership?

Great leadership to me of course is first of all God based. But beyond that, there can be no secret agenda, no desire to be known, no egomaniacs. We are surrounded in the media by people who clearly lead only to achieve status and recognition. And usually the only followers are those that hope to benefit from the leaders success, sadly it very often has nothing to do with the cause, the cause simply serves as a platform.

The more giving a leader is, the more productive she will be. I don't mean giving your life away with no boundaries, I just mean it's more productive to work to give then to get. Seth Godin talks about the fact that followers can "sniff" out why someone is asking for their attention. They soon tire of following someone who is only looking out for number one.

In conversations with my son (just this past weekend), this generation is very weary of chasing the ever allusive dream of obtaining much, and of arrogant leadership. They can spot a false leader from a mile away. They want to follow someone who gives not takes for himself. They also reject religion. Now before you get worried about my son, don't, he knows Christ in a more authentic way they I do sometimes. He sees past the religious set of rules that past generations have established. It is difficult for me to get past "the rules" of religion at times, even in a contemporary setting. He quotes scripture, and presents very pure arguments toward a freedom in his faith, that I have seldom experienced. He challenges my false boundaries, my religious 'to do' list. And I'm beginning to see a great, confident leader emerging, it scares me and excites me all at once! The passion of youth makes me jealous!

So today I learned that to be a great leader discomfort is required (isn't that just great!), and that you will lose those you lead if a secret agenda exists. So lead confidently and transparently!

1 comment:

Scott Palmer said...

Lori, this made me think of a quote I used in one of my own blogs. It's by the author Frank Peretti when he was describing where he was in his walk at the time he wrote "The Visitation". He said:

"I was going through a real pivotal moment that many or most Christians have to go through. It's like a coming of age. Where you cross a threshold from your Christianity being kind of a cultural thing. 'Well, this is what I am. I'm a Presbyterian, or I'm a Methodist, or I go to this church. And therefore I do what my particular Christian culture says that a Christian is supposed to do. I wear a certain clothing, and I use a certain expression and I go to church on Sunday and I go to Wednesday night bible study...whatever the manual says a Christian is supposed to do, that's what I do.' And then there's a point where you cross over and your faith becomes your own. It's not defined by the culture in which you were saved, or raised, or whatever. But it’s your own. And that is a big, big step. And a lot of it is preceded by a very difficult time of doubt, skepticism, questioning things. In my case there was a lot of burn out, a little touch of bitterness, and kind of a, 'Don't talk to me about what a Christian is supposed to be. I'm sick of Christianity. I just want to find Jesus, the way He really is.'"

If there is anything that I like about the more contemporary movement of our churches today, it's that it allows for just what you describe. A generation that can come to know the true Jesus without trodding through all of the culture that religion often times brings.