Very few of us have been prepared to lead well. A couple of us might have been mentored by a strong leader. Most of us landed the role because someone else thought we had proven ourselves talented in some capacity, which translated into our ability to lead others, but talent is rarely enough. How many professional athletes go on to become successful professional coaches? I've watched too many young, talented people rise to a leadership position only to wear down after three or four years. One might assume that they burn out because of the responsibilities of their role. Or, maybe, because they don't have a strong leader alongside of them coaching and encouraging them...
But here's the reality of the situation:
No really, here's the situation...
Our contentment in our personal lives is directly correlated to how long we remain in and succeed at our leadership position. I was reading through Philippians yesterday morning and was challenged by Paul's contentment in very difficult situations. So many professional athletes or celebrities will display Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through him who gives me strength." However, we can't gloss over the entire chapter or we miss a key leadership principle.
If we are not involved in something that requires more than our talent and abilities, than contentment can be fleeting. Paul's not saying, "I am talented and gifted, therefore my success in this will make me happy and content." Contentment is never a side effect of success. We find contentment when we recognize that we've been called into something greater than ourselves. Therefore, we work at lessening our need for anything material and invest ourselves into the mission we are passionate about.
Here's a list of leadership killing thoughts:
1. I deserve a title
2. I deserve a financial reward
3. I deserve recognition
4. I deserve respect
5. I more talented than ____________
6. I work hard, so I deserve ____________
7. I should of been asked to be on that team to work on that project.
I know these are thoughts that kill leadership, because I've said them all and have felt the emotions that come along with them.
I will also say this, if you want to create a community that develops leaders you'll do the following:
1. Give people titles
2. Pay people what they are worth
3. Give recognition
4. Give people respect
5. Tell people what talents they have
6. Verbally appreciate hard work
7. Take risks on people
If you are tempted to think it is hypocritical to do these things for those you lead but not expect it from those who lead you, you're confusing hypocritical with sacrificial.