noun lead·er·ship \ˈlē-dər-ˌship\
What is it?
While a quick Google search might find you a simple definition that describes leadership as a position to be filled, the reality is that it is much more complex. While leadership may in fact be a position, it is so much more than the power or authority that we often ascribe to those who we look to as our leaders. It is my belief that TRUE leadership concerns itself with:
- positively INFLUENCING others to achieve a higher purpose;
- STEWARDING the faith and belief placed in us (leaders) by those we lead; and
- DEVELOPING the capacity and potential of the people who are in our trust.
In this sense, leadership is less about who we are and more about what we do. And as such, leadership is something that each of us is responsible for.
No matter your station, and no matter the role you find yourself in, you are responsible for leading from wherever you are. Put another way, YOU WERE CREATED TO LEAD! Whether that is leading those who follow you, or "leading up" to influence those above you, in either case, you are responsible for providing leadership to those around you. In the home, in the workplace, or wherever you may find yourself, YOU are the leadership that that space needs!
This means that no matter how ill-equipped you might feel, or how inexperienced you might be, you have a greater capacity for leadership than you ever thought possible. Scripture says, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27, ESV). As such, our capacity AND responsibility to lead is inherent to the likeness in which we were created. This can be seen in God's declaration in the verse prior: "... And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis (1:26, ESV).
And while it might be tempting to read "dominion" as a call to "dominate" or "subdue," a truer interpretation (and one more in line with the nature of our creator) is that God intended for us to steward and contribute to the flourishing of His WHOLE creation. We have no greater example of this type of leadership than that of Jesus Christ. His leadership was creative, redemptive, and transformative. Similarly then, our created capacity for leadership should result in changed lives, changed environments, and change nations.
who is responsible?
For centuries, lighthouses have stood as beacons, serving both to guide ships to shore and alert them of danger. Their bright light provided assurance to sailors who were seeking to make it home, and confidence that they could make it their safely. Through stormy and calm seas, lighthouses have always stood as places of safety and refuge; places of vision and light.
Similarly, our leadership should provide both safety and refuge, as well as vision and light, for those around us. It should assure followers that they are marching in the right direction, while comforting them as they find safety in our strength of character. It should warn of the dangers and trials that lie ahead, while simultaneously casting vision for how others might navigate the treacherous waters that they may encounter along the journey. And above all else, it should remain steady and resolute in both calm and stormy seasons, just like a lighthouse. And as our leadership thrives, so should our light shine to point others toward the safe shores that they are looking for.
How are you being called to lead? How might your leadership result in greater flourishing within your community? How might you be the answer to the very issues that you've seen in the world around you?
To find answers to these questions, and to learn more about how YOU were created to lead: