Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A word to leaders

Are you a leader? You qualify if you're a dad, a deacon, a supervisor at work, the captain of a basketball team, the leader of a campus Bible study, a mom or a recognized 'pillar citizen' in your neighborhood. Wherever we have influence over others, we are leaders. Leadership carries with it authority. Sometimes that authority is formal, like the authority of a US Senator. Sometimes it's non-formal, like the authority the presence of a seasoned Christian carries when he attends his small group, even if he's not the official leader. How we wield our authority makes or breaks our leadership of those looking to us for guidance, wisdom and security. In his book King Me, Steve Farrar distinguishes between authority which proves a blessing and authoritarianism which crushes those we lead:
  • Authority is kind. Authoritarianism is dismissive and rude.
  • Authority is firm, looking into the hearts of those one leads. Authoritarianism is overly concerned with the letter of the law, often completely overlooking the heart.
  • Authority disciplines for one's good. Authoritarianism abuses - through manipulation or power-plays or verbal undressing or worse.
  • Authority is open and approachable. Authoritarianism is easily threatened and, therefore, discourages being approached.
  • Authority is thoughtful and intentional. Authoritarianism is explosive.
  • Authority is consistent. Authoritarianism is unpredictable and can jump out and bite off a head at any given moment.
  • Authority encourages people and builds them up. Authoritarianism discourages people by focusing on their faults.
  • Authority holds out an open hand of generosity. Authoritarianism is stingy - stingy with praise, acts of kindness, time and money - always clutching its hand in a tight fist.
In grace, God's given us all leadership and influence over others. How are you exercising your's today?

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