This is not an endeavor for the faint of heart or those with a suspect self-image. Leadership requires a strong will that refuses to be molded by the moment but to be guided by the truth. It means we must be moving but doing so in a wise manner.
Here are few ideas to think about how you are moving as a leader:
Leadership needs to see ahead of the next corner. As a leader, you have to act first and act decisively. But there is caveat to it all. In being proactive, you must bring other along your decision-making process. Too often, in the name of being proactive, leaders will often make decisions in a relational vacuum. My counsel to you is to be ahead but not alone.
A terrible middle ground that we are tempted to fill is reactive leadership. Rather than seeing ahead, we wait around. Then, in the place of forward momentum, we give in to the temptation of simply responding to the moment. Leadership should not be a counter-punch against present reality. It is preemptively knowing what we should do before it has to be done. Reactive leadership will give momentary relief but no lasting victory.
Deactive leadership is my term for how we demotivate people. It is a false leadership that takes over rather than give away responsibilities. Deactive leaders want everyone around to be a mindless drone; those who just fall in line and follow orders. This type of leadership will get things done but never personally helps those who are doing the work. In this mode, leaders see accomplishments from their own hands and followers strain to see their part in it all.
Just be active
Leadership involves the head, our passions, and our actions. You must see around corners to what is likely to happen next. You must care deeply about both the task to be accomplished and the people who are those to accomplish it. Transformation is the reason we lead. So, we must avoid being in the posture that puts self-worth above others by simply using circumstances and people for our advantage.
As you lead, be active for the right purposes. As leaders, our work is not to recruit followers but to produce new leaders. In fact, we should hope to produce better leaders than we are. The more active you are for the sake of people, the less likely you will give in to the pitfalls of selfish positioning of yourself.
Philip Nation is the Director of Content Development with Lifeway, and serves as Teaching Pastor for The Fellowship, a multi-campus church in Nashville, TN. His latest book is Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out. He is also the coauthor of Compelled: Living the Mission of God and Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow.