Have you ever noticed there are those who are positioned as leaders, and then there are those who lead?
I started to notice the difference not too long into my search for great leadership. So much training, courses, or blogs were directed at a very specific audience, leaders – more specifically those who are in leadership roles. This was frustrating because not everyone is in a leadership role; however, I fully believe everyone was meant to lead.
I have several “leaders” and have had several others in past occupations and volunteer positions. A leader is one who is viewed, or views themselves, as such. They are viewed this way because of their position of authority wherever they might be; A CEO who has to be the leader of a major company, the pastor of a church, or the superintendent of a school district. Most people who are considered leaders have been given this title by others.
THOSE WHO LEAD
I’ve known few people who lead or at least lead well intentionally. A person who leads sometimes isn’t viewed as a leader. In fact, they’re often the ones you might see in the background while someone else is called the leader. You know them as the people who are held in high regard for having integrity, character, and trust. Sometimes these people are in a leadership role but not always, and I want to make sure we know where we really want to be as leaders.
Where We (Should) Want To Be
Being a leader is a great feeling. One reason why so many people want the title, especially men, is because we like to feel powerful and have authority. The problem I’ve seen, even in myself, is sometimes that power and authority makes us forget who we really are – Servants.
Christ was a leader. People followed Him. People believed in Him. However, most people of that time never considered Him a leader. Had He been given the official title of “Priest” or “King”, I think He would’ve been viewed as a leader. He came to earth in a humble manner and never gave in to the seduction of having power and authority.
This is where I want to be, how I want to lead, and how I want to be led. As I said earlier, I’ve had a lot of leaders, but only a few people who knew how to lead well. Servant leadership is not about making you feel better or making others feel less about themselves. It’s simply a way to show that you truly care for the people who are following you and those who don’t. If you are currently in a leadership role, a pastor, a manager, a supervisor, or whatever; I strongly urge you to consider the way you’re currently leading your team.
If you’re having problems with buy-in or alignment, perhaps it’s because you aren’t showing your people they truly matter. There are several books about how great leaders ask great questions, but I want to take it one step further. A good leader asks questions, but a great leader listens for the answers. What I mean by that is, anyone can ask questions, many can even ask great questions, but a great leader will actually consider the answers.
Unfortunately, as obvious as this might seem to some, many leaders, those in leadership roles, don’t listen. They’ll ask the question and completely ignore the answers that come their way because they’re not truly interested in how their team might respond. This is the difference between a leader and those who lead. Those who lead want the best for their team and will lead by serving them in any way they can.
Now I’ve given you a pretty clear difference between a leader and someone who leads, and I’m curious how this might resonate with you. Have you ever experienced the difference between a leader and someone who leads intentionally? What do you believe is your leadership style, or why are you interested in being a leader? Do you care about those you are or potentially can be leading, or do you just want to have the title?
I truly believe we have all been created to be leaders and lead others, but I want to challenge you today to take a deeper look into who you could be leading already and not even know it. Serve others today and take some first steps into being someone who leads.