Monday, February 6, 2012

Pushing a Rope

Here’s a practical example for you, go find a rope and throw it on the ground. Now push it in a straight line all around your house. How did it go?? Probably not very well. This is one of the most common mistakes in leadership. Regardless of effort, you cannot push people in the direction of your vision or goals as a leader. Now take that same rope and tie it to your back belt loop. It will always be behind you. Granted, sometimes it will get slammed in the door and other times, someone will step on it to slow you down. But it will always be there. In my life, I’ve had leaders who have pushed me around where I had to try to figure out where they wanted me to go. I have also had leaders that I would follow anywhere and anytime through the good and the bad. As a wild land firefighter, I make it a point to only risk my life with the latter. What stinks is that when I look back on my own leadership experience, I can clearly see the times I was leading and when I was pushing. Maybe it’s better to say that I can see my successes and my failures. It is amazing how you can tell people how to do what you want them to do and get nowhere. But when you start demonstrating by example, setting the standard with your own actions, making sure that people are being taken care of so they can accomplish the tasks that you have for them, then you will foster a group of people that will not only follow you, they will want to follow you. Think of the best leaders you have followed and I will bet that you remember someone who cared about you, met you needs, clearly told you what was correct and incorrect, thanked you for your hard work and you learned by their example, not only your job but more importantly how to lead others. The Bible has a word for this, it’s called discipleship. The thing with discipleship is that it takes hard work from both parties involved. When Jesus called Peter, James, John and Andrew he said “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Not you “are fishers of men.” It took 3 years of teaching, betrayal, fear and the Holy Spirit to become the first leaders of the Christian church. Why is it today so many of us  think we can say we trust in God and expect to be a good Christian leader with none of the lessons. We need to learn to be good leaders. You see, to be a leader after God’s own heart, we need to live our life serving others, discipling them while being willing to be discipled.  


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