Leadership Success or Leadership Meltdown

I read a news blog this week that opined as to why the Obama administration is in decline. My post is not an "Anti" or "Pro" Obama post. Mine is "Pro Good Leadership." There are many lenses through which I read the aforementioned article. I read it as a follower of Jesus Christ. I read it as an American. I read it as a father. I read it as a husband. I read it as a leader. I read it hoping to gain insight on how to pray for President Obama, his family, his Administration, etc. I want to share some things I thought about while reading it through a pair of bi-focals (Follower of Jesus Christ lens & Leadership lens.)

The article inspired me to write 10 commitments that will help leaders be successful.  I will share three of them today.

1. Commit to stay in touch.

Leaders must stay in touch with the felt needs of people.  We are not professionals, but we are called to lives of excellence.  We are servants.  We go low to serve.  In our "lowly place" we produce fruit, wash feet, give away our lives, role model meekness, peacemaking and humility.  We inspire, we encourage, we teach, we lead, we train, etc.  Are leaders out of touch?  Are they out of reach?  Are they humble?  Do they role model sensitivity to people's needs without conceding to an attitude of poverty and pauper thinking?  Has materialism put them in the silo of ineffectiveness?  Are they bound by a pride, that keeps them out of reach & untouchable, both in their heart and their intellect?  Has busyness made them a distant figure who only shows up when necessary?  Mark Sanborn states "If the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy."  I read recently a challenging thought, "Have we delegated the 'touching-the-heart' job to the email forward button?  the youtube link?  the facebook status and comment?  Hey leader, hey follower of Jesus, Youtube is not the same as you touching their heart.  Facebook does not equal face time.

2. Commit to be trustworthy.

Kris Vallotton once penned, "What position you get by force you maintain through force.  What you obtain with honor will be protected by favor."  A leader is really only a leader if they have stewarded the trust that's been given to them so that they gain influence.  A leader's long term effectiveness is dependent upon his or her's ability to earn, grow and steward trust.  The bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:2, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." Trust is a beautiful and potent seed, that with the water of faithfulness, the sunlight of love, & willingness to remove weeds of doubt, offense and negativity, can grow into a powerful life giver. Trust is not easily earned, but it is easily broken. View trust as "loose change" in your pocket. At the end of every day, you want more change in your pocket than when you started. Your attitude, your choices, your humility and your teachability will help you earn "more change." I don't believe followers expect leaders to be perfect, but they expect them to be authentic and to be courageous. You can be that leader. Commit to it.

3.  Commit to inspire

Maybe you can give an amazing speech, sermon or presentation.  Maybe you "WOW" a small gathering with your charisma and great sense of humor.  Maybe people flock to you because of your genuiness and authenticity.  Whatever the case may be, people are looking for inspiration.  They want to be inspired.  They want to believe that something better exists.  Not because it's attained through hard work alone, but that it creates a better world, a better future, a more promising hope for our children and grandchildren.  Many have spoken of our President's incredible ability to give a great speech.  I would admit that at times he is a great communicator and at a times a bit of a bore, but nonetheless, I am aware that his effectiveness lies in not just giving a great speech, but in getting things done.  Inspiration is more than lofty ideas and fantasy.  Inspiration motivates and energizes people to put their "boots on the ground" and get to work.  I love the story of Nehemiah in the bible.  He was a man with a vision and a conviction to make it happen.  He inspired people to believe once again that Jerusalem could retain her glory.  He not only spoke inspirationally, he led with inspiration.  He was a leader's leader, one we should not be afraid to emulate.  I have found that inspiration in an organization, a movement is sustainable when CELEBRATION, COUNSEL, CONFRONTATION & COURAGE happen.  A culture of honor is full of life, but you can not have a culture of honor without a culture of confrontation.  As leaders we are not short on enthusiasm.  We can inspire an eskimo to buy more ice.  The question is, "Is there a strategy underneath our enthusiasm?"  Make sure your inspirational environment is aware of the hard work that needs to be done.  Utlize inspiration to touch the heart and mobilize the masses.

I will post more commitments in the next few days. Please check back & also leave a comment. I would love to know what you think of these thoughts or add to them.