Leadership lessons: What you may not see in your leadership
Stepping into a leadership role in any capacity is an honor and a privilege. We all know, leadership positions are highly coveted and highly contested for. However, I believe very few understand the ramifications of becoming a leader. Many who thought of themselves as leaders have stepped up to the plate only to strike out in three pitches without swinging.
This leads me to say that the true number of good leaders is lower than perceived. Reggie McNeal in his book, present future , says that "leaders are in high demand but short supply". This is true across the board for leaders in any capacity. Many are excited about the thought of leadership, but few are trained, ready and motivated.
Here are a few things I've learned about Leadership over the years. I post these to help anyone who is considering leadership in any capacity. If you are about to take a position that requires intense leadership, like in a ministry or big business, my goal is to give you as much information as possible before you take the plunge. Many things regarding leadership are hidden until one steps up to the plate. Leadership isn't all glitz and glamour. it gets a bit messy as well.
1. People will attack you
You will be criticized, maligned and slandered for your leadership. Whether good or bad, your ways are now under intense scrutiny. You may find that previously when you were not the leader in a setting everyone loved your thoughts and ideas. You were an ally to all, and a close confidant. Once that title of leader is attached to you, all of that changes.
You now have a microscope on you. Some will exhort you and become a follower, but many will dislike only because you are being obedient to God's will for your life as a leader.
2. You will lose friends
The bottom line is that leadership is polarizing. Some will stick by you, and others will dessert you. This happens for a lot of reasons. Some former allies may feel you have changed and your character is no longer the same. Others will think you have turned your back on them. Often times, it is their own vice that keeps them from knowing you still care for them.
The key is to reach out to them. Continue to tell them you love them and leave your door open. Some may come to their senses and once again become great allies and friends.
Jesus Christ was deserted, denied, laughed at and doubted by his closest of friends. His best friend, Peter, denied him three times (John 13:38, Matthew 26:74, Matthew 26:34). Another "ally" Judas Iscariot was stealing money from Him and told his enemies of his whereabouts (Jn. 12:6, Lk. 22:1-6). Even after His resurrection, Jesus had another disciple, Thomas, doubt he had actually risen (John 20:27). Jesus was perfectly following God's will, and still met opposition. If that happened to our Lord, won't we meet similar resistance?
3. You may be changing things too quickly
The 45th law of power says: "Preach the need for change but never reform too much at once".
Although secular, this law of the 48 laws of power (Robert Greene) rings true. Even though your change as a new leader is good, it just may be too much at once. People need time to process change. Moving slower can be a good tool to helping you get the change you need while also honoring those around you.
Perhaps Jesus was the only person to successful instill change very quickly. However, we are not Jesus. We must carefully navigate our people groups so as to honor them while carefully instilling change.
4. Don't forget to see God's good works in the midst of criticism
If you are in touch with the Lord and truly following his will, there is much that is positive in your midst. God is working and doing many good works while you receive blame and criticism. Your efforts are not in vain. Too many leaders quit the battle because of those naysayers that desire to see you fail. Leader, do not give up. If God is in it, then he is pleased with you.
Learn from your critics. See if there is a kernel of truth in their bad mouthing. Receive what you can from them and then push forward with God's mission.
In 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul tells Timothy, his understudy to "fight the good fight, and keep a good conscience" (1:19). We must continue to fight and see God's good works happening around us. We cannot be slaves to other peoples expectations. Instead we should be faithful servants to our God, even in the midst of turmoil.