How Do We Model Leadership in the 21st Century?

If you are not leading yourself well, then you cannot lead other people.  I know the idea of self-leadership can appear somewhat strange, but the truth is that as individuals we have to lead our lives well if we want other people to follow us.  This isn't simply about external outward leadership it is about leading our own hearts.   How you talk to other people, the way you react in a given situation, your response to a challenge, every single thing you do impacts those around you and determines whether you are a leader worth following or not.   In my view, if you do not lead your own heart appropriately, then you will not lead other people into a prefered future.  So then good leadership must begin with self-leadership. 

Leadership is not simply giving orders and expecting other people to carry them out.  Good leadership starts with investing in people.  People will work for you and serve your vision if they know that you truly care about them.  Take time to find out about their lives, show genuine concern for their needs and an interest in their families and their desires.  People want to feel valued and respected. Building relationships takes time and effort but the rewards are incredible.

The most powerful aspect of your leadership is your example.  The power of example whether good or bad will have more impact on your leadership than anything else.  Always think before you speak or you act because you cannot take your words back and you cannot undo your actions.  Both of these have consequences.  If someone fails at their task and you lose your temper you are no better than they are.  You can use the opportunity to 'blow off' or you can use it as a teaching moment.  If you deal with the person in a gracious and kind manner and help them to learn through their failure you will gain a committed follower in the process. 

Leadership is also about self-sacrifice, self-giving and serving and the greatest example we have is Jesus.  Paul said in Philippians 2: 5 "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus'. He then goes on to describe Jesus as humble, a servant, and sacrificial.  I imagine if there were more leaders like Jesus there would be a host of people willing to serve and to give and to sacrifice.  Lead the way by getting your hands dirty, by stooping down and serving. My prayer is that in this decade we would see more servant leaders who are willing to stoop down and wash the feet of the lowly, the needy, the vulnerable and the marginalized.  That for me is authentic leadership.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,

 

Carol

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