Leadership is an issue in our culture. Too many people, men and women alike, seem to shrug off their responsibilities allowing others to either carry their weight or simply leaving those in need of their leadership wanting. There is no question this is a problem and thus the purpose of this blog; to encourage purposeful leadership back into our culture. However, in my last post I proposed leading can be done simply by being a follower. You can read the article here. I’d like to build on this thought.
I think too many of us, myself included, see the glory tied to leadership. The praise given, the accolades attributed and then pride happens. And when I’m called upon to follow, I rebel. I may drag my feet, defy guidelines, or inappropriately have the notion I could do better if I were in charge. This type of pride only helps the culture in its downward spiral. We need followers. We need to be followers. We can’t all be leaders, all the time, in every capacity. In some way, you and I are followers right now.
Last time I ended with this challenge: If we “choose to more actively seek after our leader and the waiting possibilities in simply fulfilling a responsibility, leadership would begin to look much different in our culture. For in doing, others would begin to follow the example set; creating a leader out of a follower.”
Take the Christian for example. If a Christian man is truly following the Lord, doing his best to serve Him daily, live without submitting to the sin of the world and treating others with selfless kindness, then he is, by divine design, leading others to follow his God simply through the act of following. His following is leading others to desire the same. However, when this same man doesn’t realize the leadership qualities he possesses and half-heartedly pursues Christ without discarding his selfish deeds, his partiality will lead others to dismiss Christianity as hypocrisy. His following is again leading others, although this time with a negative impact.
When I allow my pride to get in the way of fulfilling responsibilities, I’m providing an example for those following me to do the same. I’m simply adding to the poison corrupting our society. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
In other words, when we discuss this topic of leaders and followers, the truth is we are all influencing others. That’s the nature of humanity; people who live such interwoven lives. People affect other people. So whether you are a leader or follower, people are watching you. Your efforts are being measured, calculated. Are you being intentional in your commitments? Devoted in your endeavors? Your potential is simply waiting to be seized if you’ll follow the plan designed to get you there: God’s plan.
For even Jesus was a follower. He said in John 14:30-31 “I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”
So again my challenge for each of us is to lead by following. Follow the authority over you, positive mentors, the wisdom of those before us but ultimately, beyond all the others, follow God. Let Him direct your leadership. You have the opportunity to make an impact; to lead simply by following. Be a following leader. Seize your potential.