Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Leadership is a Choice - NOT a Position

Leadership is a choice.  The position does not make the leader - even if the position is CEO.  Making the choice to lead means you have made the choice to serve others and build others up.  You have made the choice to be a positive example.

If you want to be a people builder, start by giving people an example to follow. Leadership begins with you and with how you live.  At its most basic level, leadership is about being a model for others.

Why?  You can only take a person as far as you have gone yourself.  You cannot take others up the mountain if you have never been up the mountain.  You cannot help others grow until you have grown.  That’s why the first person you need to lead is yourself.  The first person you need to develop is yourself.

The problem today is we don’t know the difference between being a leader and a boss. Being the boss does not make you a leader.  A boss who doesn’t understand leadership is called a dictator.  He demands.  Leaders model.  You don’t lead by demanding.  You lead by influence and example.

Jesus, the greatest leader in human history, stated it very clearly, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you.  On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

Jesus never asked anybody to do anything he hadn’t already done, wasn’t already doing, or wasn’t willing to do himself.  After modeling servant leadership he said to his disciples, “I’ve given you an example to follow.  Now do as I have done to you.”   Jesus said he did it, now you do it.  Jesus taught it, then he modeled it, then he expected it from his disciples.

As leaders, what do we need to model?  Here are just a few of my thoughts.  I’m sure you can add much more to the list.

1. Speech. How do you talk to people? Do you talk down to them or do you talk with them?  Do you listen when they talk?
2. Respect. Do you value and respect the people around you?
3. Care. Do you show authentic care and compassion to other people?
4. Character. Do you live a life of integrity?
5. Excellence. Do you model excellence in your work?
6. Serving. Do you serve others?  Are you interested in helping them achieve their goals and dreams?

Are you modeling those behaviors for your family?  For your co-workers? Leadership is a choice.  The role of the leader doesn’t come automatically when we’re given a title. There are plenty of bosses who aren’t leaders.  But you can be a leader.  It starts by making choices that other people choose not to make and providing that as an example to others.  Anyone can be a leader.  The issue is, do you choose to be one?