Leadership Success or Leadership Meltdown -part 2

Part II....... A few days ago I started a series of posts referencing a blog I read opining as to why the Obama Administration is in peril.  My last post and this post are not "Anti" Obama or "Pro" Obama.  The article got me to thinking and here some thoughts and ideas to help inspire "Pro Good Leadership."

There are many lenses through which we read material.  The lenses I look through are; a follower of Jesus Christ, an American, a father, a husband, a leader & one who hopes to gain insight on how to pray for President Obama, his family, his Administration, etc.

While reading I had some ideas come to me that I want to share.  I was primarily reading 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 have already shared three and you can read about them here.  Here are 3 more....

4.  Commit to BE the Message.

As I was typing that last sentence I could not help but remember a line in a popular golf move when Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) is giving counsel to the young Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe) about life.  As Ty runs around the practice putting green barefoot he says, "Be the ball Danny."  No I am not supporting a form of New Age mysticism, however, I am suggesting that it's important that we as leaders be the message more than talk about the message.  As leaders we can't deliver effectively, what has not first delivered us.  I'm sure you know to that which I'm referring.

For example, you have been with a friend, a leader, a mentor, a parent, etc. and they are sharing a piece of their life with you.  You can feel it in the "air of the room" when the piece of their life they are sharing goes from great counsel, funny story, good advice to suddenly sharing convictions from the heart because they seek to empower people.  I have a mentor in my life who ofte shares things with me because I can learn from his mistakes instead of unncessarily making my own.  Bishop Juray Mora stated, "Impossible is... opinion not fact, mindset not truth, an obstacle, not the finish line." While we all face impossible situations, those of us who have said yes to lead, must role model a message of "all things are possible" by BEING a message of courage, hope, faith, love, etc.  My interaction with people has convinced me of many things, but one seems appropriate for this subject, "People don't want to know truth as much as they want to know if their leader is true."  I don't believe anyone expects us to be perfect, but they do expect us to grow and mature while being transparent and authentic.

5.  Commit to a Life message that Inspires.

David Sliker recently posted on twitter, "The rally cry across the nation is for the church to try to do the 2nd commandment; the cry of the Spirit is to ignite her with the first." I love this tweet because it is full of inspiration.  As followers of Jesus who seek to lead, our energy and inspiration comes from God.  The first commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  This is not a burdensome commandment, but one that is fueled with passion and desire.  Our desire to lead and the strength needed to do so comes from gazing upon the Beauty of Jesus.  God is the definer and we are the defined.  In the midst of God defining who we are, he gives us the very essence of life, purpose, desire and inspiration.  You know this well...Leadership is hard work.  It is not easy.  Most of us are having to learn skills to become effective leaders.  John Maxwell has observed in his 20+ years of leadership training that leaders are rarely born, but are mostly made through growth and development.  The Holy Spirit is the best leader, developer and trainer.  He has committed himself to help us become better leaders.  Leadership is a gift from God and the Holy Spirit wants us to be credible leaders (Romans 12:8.)  If our leadership life message starts to fall flat, then we are not being lifted up.  They are not raising their heads and looking to the horizon with expectancy and enthusiasm.  Our inspirational message is not "Hot air pockets of artificial hope" but rather messages that are built around a 3-fold approach.  First, it is essential we understand God's desires for the human heart, second we adhere to the Bible and it's effectiveness in training and thirdly we validate the longing in the soul for deep, heart to heart connection with other people.  The world is saturated with negativity, so we need a movement of people who combine a message of hope with a real "strategy under our enthusiasm" [1].

6. Commit to Community.

I am curious how politicians & leaders juggle the balancing act between the will of the people and doing what is right.  Sometimes they are congruent, at times they are not.  I admit the American public does not always have the correct position on an issue and therefore a political leader may make a decision contrary to public opinion.  I believe the opposite is true as well.  Sometimes the American people are correct & politicians ignore their voice.  I do not despise this tension, as a matter of fact, I admire the conviction and resolve people demonstrate in such uncertainty.

I feel strongly, that we, as leaders, must stay in touch with the felt needs of those we lead (I wrote about this in a previous post) while at the same time lead with conviction.  This commitment to community will grow the leadership currency account known as "TRUST."  We can not expect those leaders that we follow to be perfect, but we can expect them to share with us their heart, their thought process and their values.  This is what we must do with those we serve.  Let them see our heart, our thought process and our values.  In this hour we must resist the temptation to gather together as a movement because we agree with each other's version of truth.  While I understand the power of agreement, the danger is when we disagree we fracture.

When I was in 4th grade I was high jumping over a rope and when I hit the ground my wrist bone did not agree with the ground.  The result?  A fractured bone.  The body of Christ, followers of Jesus, have too many fractures because we can't handle disagreement with honor and respect.  In Ephesians 4:11- it reads, "he gave gifts...to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."  The phrase "built up" in it's original language means "to set a broken bone."  A leadership culture of honor must also be a leadership culture of confrontation.  We can function as whole, not disjointed and fractured.  I believe God is inviting us to gather together because love is a higher value than agreed upon doctrine.  I have confidence that God is teaching us to dialogue in a way that fosters deeper devotion and commitment to one another.  I believe God is inviting us to gather around "Fathers and Mothers" because they have an inheritance of wisdom, courage and love to give us so that we experience an acceleration in our growth and journey.  This new movement, built around covenantal relationships, screams for the needed values of honor, brave communication, integrity, joy and intimacy.  It is my conviction that this will make the church a thousand times more relevant than controversial messages, intelligent lighting, hipster - java ambience, etc. [I am not opposed to controversy, cool lighting and great ambience.  I am opposed to artificial environments.]  People are looking to love and be loved.  Leaders can not be disconnected or aloof in their interaction with community.

Mark Sanborn, noted author of the New York Times best seller "The Fred Factor" tweeted, "Generally if a person is threatened by an opposing viewpoint, the problem isn't with the viewpoint."  Honor, trust and loyalty are environments condusive for miracles and supernatural power.  Let's commit to connect to and lead such a community.

To clarify what some may be thinking.  I am unwavering in the necessity for the church to agree upon the fundamentals of the faith.  There is no room for discussion as to who Jesus is, His atoning work for our redemption, the inerrancy of the Holy Bible, humanity's need for a savior, etc.  I do, however, believe that beyond the fundamentals are places where we can agree to disagree without dishonoring, disrespecting or marginalizing.  Those petty games of pride do not serve us well or empower us to serve others effectively.

May the God of all grace and mercy teach us how to live the message, live a life message of inspiration and do so while "doing life together" with those in our community.

[1] - Quote by Bill Hybels