Leadership Checkpoint: Are you worth following?
As a leader, you have the terrifying responsibility to be someone worth following. Your followers seek direction from you as their leader, and more times than not, they will become like you. There is a perpetual need for leaders to address two areas of crisis in our culture. Strangely enough, confronting them has very little to do with what you say against the culture, it has everything to do with who you are and how you develop others.
The Character Crisis
You must swim against the current of self-centered culture. Ultimately, your leadership is not about your position, your vision or your legacy. It is about Christ. Servant leaders humbly carry out God’s vision for redemption and seek His glory. In doing this, you end up mirroring the servant leadership of Christ Himself,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross. (Phil. 2.6-8)
This type of servant leadership enriches the lives of others, for you are placing others before yourself. Your followers will hopefully follow suit, resulting in a ministry, organization or family that looks, not like you, but like Christ.
The Development Crisis
Having addressed what a leader should be, it is also important to address what a leader should do. Rather than surrendering to apathy concerning your followers (which grows out of a passive society), it is the leader’s responsibility to raise leaders. A great leader produces other leaders. It is so easy, and rather tempting, to focus on your “kingdom” and securing its success. However, as discussed above, this is not what Christ did. He recognized that in developing those around Him, he was building into the kingdom of God. This is not to say that the practical aspects of leadership are to be abandoned, it is merely a checkpoint- Are you developing your people into leaders for Christ’s kingdom? Or are you merely using them for the development of your own kingdom?
In confronting these two deficiencies in our culture with a Christ-like selflessness, you become a leader worth following and imitating.
This article is adapted from Howard Hendricks' curriculum, The Dynamics of Leadership, in which he thoroughly covers many persistent issues in leadership. It is an outstanding resource and is available today!