leadership 101

While being here at the Olympics I have met and spent time with some incredible leaders. It’s got me to thinking about the characteristics that a leader should carry and model. I’m currently reading a book that one of my friends, coaches (see previous post), and someone I would define as a true leader gave me and it’s really helped me to realize the true responsibility that a leader has. That responsibility is echoed in a standard dictionary definition of a leader reads as follows:

LEADER [noun] – a person or thing that leads. Also a guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group.

This being said I wonder if we use the term “Leader” too loosely? I think of the number of people that are referred to and regarded as leaders and wonder if we (yes we I am including myself in this) fit the profile? Leaders have an enormous amount of responsibility, and depending on where one finds his or herself leading it can be quite the stress. You think the leader of an army, tactical unit or SWAT team and how they make the call and decision when to put other members of their team’s lives in danger, if even for a moment, it must come with its share of anxiety.

I think the on crucial element of leadership is that it must be done, and perhaps this is dependent on the environment you find yourself in, but I feel that relationship is a crucial component in leadership. I think of the Minor Hockey days when we as a team would vote on the ones that we wished to be captains and assistants. A simple democratic process that revealed a lot about the team and the direction it would head. You see, the leader really sets the bar and is in essence the heart-beat of the team. Their attitude and effort are bound to be emulated by the many that are following from behind. John Gardner says it this way,

“Most important, leaders can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.”

– John Gardner

Team Canada at Orientation Camp

Members of Team Canada's Olympic Team stretch it out in Alberta during their orientation camp...

Leaders need to lead from a posture of submission to their leader. Be it a coach or The Coach…Paul encourages those around him in the New Testament when he says; “…follow me, as I follow Christ”. I don’t myself want to follow or serve someone because they command it or demand it but because there is something I see within them that makes me want to follow in behind. From behind I can watch and emulate that one who leads in front of me and make note of the things he or she does well and also learn from the things he or she does not. Our purpose in leading can’t come from the desire that we have to be known as the “Leader” but we naturally step into the position as it’s divinely ordained; and it more often then not comes without a ceremony or inauguration but simply with a smile and submission. That’s why I’ve entitled this post as I have, with “leadership” being spelt in lower-case. If we are seeking place of leadership for the titlte and authority, we are mere moments from disaster.

 “Divorced from ethics, leadership is reduced to management and politics to mere technique.”

– James MacGregor Burns

Leaders today, not just in the church but abroad must lead with the understanding that they are enabling the next generation to do greater. Perfection is not a prerequisite for leadership; you’re allowed to make mistakes and allowed to even fail miserably without loosing your title. It’s they way that you choose to handle those mistakes and embrace those failures that sets you apart and classifies you as a leader in my books. If the church is going to stand a chance the leaders of it today need to not be so concerned with seeing what “they want to see” but being sure that they enable the next ones to be able to see it. That’s selfless, and that too is a true characteristic of a leader.

“If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.”

– Isaac Newton

Leaders don’t take days off, they are leading at all times. Think of a captain, coach, or leader in sports. If they only lead in the moment they were required, when the cameras were on or they had taken their place on the bench or on the ice they more then likely would’ve never have been promoted to the place of leadership they find themselves. The way I see it, leaders lead at all times, especially when no one else is watching.

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8 thoughts on “leadership 101

  1. Hey Clarke great blog bro! Over the past several months I have been blessed with the association of some really awesome leaders and have read a bunch of great books on leadership as well. I think a lot of people have a misconception that leaders are born that way but that just isn’t the case. With the proper input (books, CDs etc) and more importantly a humble attitude alongside able mentors anyone can become a good leader. I think if more men stepped up and took on this journey of becoming a leader of their family, society would be a much better place with better prepared kids and a much better divorce rate. I am so thankful for the mentorship I have now and the direction I’ve shifted. It has brought a great peace to life!

    • Piper,
      Great to hear from you. I appreciate you takin’ the time dude to toss a comment down! Hope you are doing well and I couldn’t agree with you more! I’d love to hear more about what you are doing. Hope you’re well dude!

      • I am better than well Clarke! The G-man has totally blessed my life over the past year and a half. I met my soulmate and we are set to be married august 7, not bad for a guy that was never getting married or having kids.. Lol Then about 10 months ago He brought Nancy and I to a faith based business development group called worldwide dreambuilders. I can’t describe to you in writing how incredible this training and mentorship system is! Nothing short of absolute angels that we get to associate and learn business from. When you gain control of time and money the world is your oyster my friend. We have some absolutly huge dreams and goals that we will no question knock down with the help of our incredible business mentors, we truly are blessed. So what about you?we should chat live sometime man mh number is 780-362-1442 or email me at albe_411@hotmail.com. Looking forward to hearing from u man!

  2. Hey PC,
    Good stuff! I full-heartedly agree!
    Leaders shouldn’t just focus on leading but rather follow Christ to the best of their ability and lead by example. The greatest leaders lead by doing, not by speaking alone!
    Appreciate you and your heart bro!

  3. Bowman…BowDawg…JBow or whatever you wanna call me signing in to reply (obviously)

    PC I thoroughly enjoyed this blog, and I agree, I have recently joined a company that I am very proud to be a part of, and I am amazing at the attitude and style of leadership involved within the inner workings of this organization. Never once have I seen a high ranking official within an organization like this one (think of the walmart corporation as an example) step into the shoes of the common worker in the company and enthuse their downline and inform them how they can become like him.

    Through this business, I met a great man by the name of Raymond Young, who strives to see a change in the world – and how is he fulfilling his dream; by encouraging others and uplifting them. He gets down to your level, and sits with you; he acts as the lifeline on the ship we call “Everyday Life.”

    In my opinion it is people like Ray, that are helping the world open their eyes. What is his reasoning for this? Well, he’s been in nearly every situation a person could think of; Lost loved ones, depression, suicide attempts, divorce, dating issues, bankruptcy, True Poverty; and he escaped due to his beliefs. Ray is making the difference by being the vessel for change that his God, my God, your God, OUR GOD, wants him to be; and it people whose attitude is like this (no detrimental situation can hold you back) that will bring victories in the expansion of the God’s believers.

    THESE are the people that are the TRUE Leaders.

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