Let’s be honest: leadership has many stereotypes in this Genesis 3 world. The world tends to see leadership is seen as a “manly” term. Sometimes it’s associated with people who bark orders to others. I have even this word to describe athletes, CEOs, and all the others the world might classify as holding a “high” position. Many believe that some have certain “leadership” qualities—as if some may or may not be born to be leaders.
Even so, we find some of the quietest people on this earth doing the greatest things despite their lack of leadership qualities. We find some of the most domineering people around causing world wars with their leadership.
1. We are ALWAYS leading.
When we ask about how to be a good leader, we have to realize that the word stands alone, apart from all our preconceived notions. Leadership is not inherently a good or bad ability. It is what we choose to do with our leadership opportunities that make an eternal impact on ourselves and others around us.
As kids, my older sister and I were always being told to make good decisions because the little brother was watching. It’s a concept I thought about often as a kid: there is someone looking to you all the time. Yet as I grew up and quickly saw my brother making his own decisions, that mindset faded. I began to walk around unaware of anyone else, unaware that anyone may be watching. While it’s convenient to think people are not observing how we work, talk, or engage with others, they are. It can be as simple as driving down the highway to work. Imagine you’re running late on the Monday morning of a big presentation. You make the quick decision to inch ten then fifteen miles per hour above the speed limit. At first, you plow ahead of the traffic. But soon, people notice and have a decision to make. Do I follow the flow of traffic or stay close to this speeding car?
If drivers on the road do not have to have a personal relationship with us, how much more do those who do have that relationship take our lead? It’s in our human nature to see someone else and do. We naturally follow without even realizing it. And others are doing the same with us. There’s always an audience. So how will we lead?
2. Where am I already leading?
Let us all think deeper. What intentional leadership opportunities do we have in our lives? The world will say we have to be the manager, owner, or CEO to lead, but that’s far from true. Are we able to lead others in a stronger work ethic at our jobs? Are we leading our siblings on how to honor our parents well? Do we lead our spouses and families by loving and treating them the way we want to be treated? There are so many different leadership opportunities God grants us! Let us find those places where people are watching us closely.
3. Who is your leader?
Scripture is filled with insight on leadership, how to do it, and who to follow. And guess what? It’s not all about Jesus. Of course, our first and foremost leader has to be Christ. He is the one we fix our eyes on. He is the one who did no wrong. He is the true and better of all of us. And He has given us one another as a tool in one another when it comes to leadership: each other. Find someone whose eyes are fixed on Jesus and ask them questions. Know that they are not perfect. They are not the standard. But if they recognize that Jesus is, it is good that we might learn from and lean on another.
At the end of the day, God left His Word for us. It shows the consistency of His nature. These sixty-six books reveal one story of a God who came down from His throne to serve us. He led by becoming the least of these. He is the ultimate standard of leadership, the only King to ever do it right. It is His authority that we bow to before any boss at work or political powerhouse. Our allegiance has to be to His Kingdom lest we begin to build our own.
Are there more factors, components, and nuances to leadership? Of course! The point is that we begin thinking about it as something we are always doing, something we are already doing, and something we can continue to learn about. The next time we notice someone’s eyes looking to ours, let us be encouraged that the leadership role God has given us is not for our own building, but for the eternal impact of the Kingdom of God. Let us always be thankful that God has declared life and life abundantly for all who would ultimately follow His lead.
In Christ alone,
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