What does it really mean to be a good leader? It’s something I’ve been mulling over – and more so when I recently came across this writing on leadership. I wrote it out for you – the image can make me go a little mad, however much I like it anyway.
“The weird thing is that the word leader itself is cliche and boring but when you come across somebody who actually is a real leader that person isn’t cliche or boring at all, in fact he’ sort of the opposite of cliche and boring….a real leader is somebody who because of his own particular power and charisma and example is able to inspire people with inspire being used here in a serious and non-cliche way. A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own…you almost always like how a real leader makes you feel the way you find yourself working harder and pushing yourself and thinking in ways you couldn’t ever get to on your own…a real leader is somebody who can help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.”
I think there is so much more to a good leader than what is written – this only begins to skim the surface. But I also think good leadership is rarely attained. It is something we (I) should always be working and striving for – to be shaped into a better leader tomorrow than I am today.
My favorite part of this quote is near the end: “a real leader is somebody who can help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.” The focus, all of a sudden, changes from you to others. I don’t think any of us can become a good leader – no matter how hard we try – until we learn to serve and help others. A good leader doesn’t dictate or control. A good leader comes up under or next to someone to help them to see and make use of the giftings they have.
Knowing that the rest of my life will be focused on serving people, I can’t help but think I have a long way to go. I’m not great at always knowing how to empower or encourage people when they’re doubtful about who they are or what they can do. I don’t always have the energy to help someone work on [their own] character development, and see them through from start to finish. I do have a huge passion for this however, and I know it will be a long process to refine those things in me and them – and it will be oh-so-rewarding for us both when that time comes.
There is so much more that could be said on this subject – and I’m sure I’ll have more insight as I gain more experience. But for today, my encouragement to you is to try to serve someone – not to selfishly serve someone to get a ‘helper-high’ – but to take a look at where they’re at, try to amplify their strengths by coming along side them and encouraging them in what they’re doing – or affirming who they are. Only then will we begin to skim the surface of what good leadership looks like.