Monday, March 30, 2015

Order in the Ranks - Part 2







"Rule Number One: Never Be Number Two."
"Second place is first loser."
"No guts, no story."

Cute phrases.
Funny taglines.
Motivational sayings.


For people who are leaders, born or made, these are valuable motivational tools.  They are quick reminders that we can draw on in our personal lives for our own counsel or for us to use to help those around us.  It's good to know yourself and your calling and gifts. Train yourself.  Train others.  

Many times I have said, "Always be training your replacement," assuming I'd get promoted and there would be a need to have someone ready to fill my shoes when I move on.  I always felt as a leader that I should produce more leaders rather than more followers.  It's also good to surround yourself with people who motivate or teach you and help prepare you for promotion and advancement, so I look among my peers for like-minded leader types with whom to associate. These are smart strategies.  Do whatever is right and good to fulfill your calling.  There's absolutely no problem with improving your leadership skills IF you're a leader.

We've taught these winning goals to our children and our society as though the only goal in the world is to be the leader, number one, top of the heap, KING OF THE HILL!  It seems like a good thing to teach and we have believed that by doing so we are awakening them to a better life of success and fulfillment.  To people who are not natural born leaders, people who are called to other things in life, people who are satisfied in their lives, who are dedicated workers, passionate servants, steady, dependable, everything else-- except leaders-- we have passed along the idea to them that they are, or that we see them as losers.  Rather than empowering them, it only serves to discourages and embitter them.

Leaders tend to be competitive, and we struggle, as anyone else does, to understand a mindset that doesn't work in the same way as our own.  I am a winner.  I don't lose.  I am ever in a contest to be better.  I will beat my old record.  I will improve my old results.  I will build a better mousetrap.  It's how I think and it's what makes me tick, however, not everyone thinks that way.  Whether I understand that or not, it's true.  Whether I'm comfortable with that or not, it's not wrong.  It's only different.
 
I believe many leaders have the notion that these other mindsets are wrong; they see them as lazy, undisciplined, dull, unenthusiastic, unimaginative, uninspired, etc...  Whether it's because of unrestrained, blind ambition, whether it's because we are simply unable to fathom the mindsets that others possess, or that we have been indoctrinated in our "everybody wins" generation to believe that leadership is the only legitimate goal, we as leaders have adopted these misconceptions as truth.  
Believe me when I say that people can tell when they are viewed in this way.  

Are all people leaders?  Absolutely not.  There have to be people for leaders to lead. Does that make them substandard? Lesser human beings?  Less desirable to have as part of your team, group, staff, congregation?  I like to quote Pastor Joe Cude who said to me once, "A leader with no followers is just going for a walk."   People need leaders, but leaders need people, too.

These are the under-valued people who are given a "C" rating at their yearly evaluation because the leaders don't understand the value of anything besides leadership potential and ambition.  They are constantly overlooked and go about their business day to day never being thought about by those in charge because they don't make a racket, for good or for bad.  

These people are the people who make leaders.  Without them leaders would become obsolete; leadership would be unnecessary.  These are the people leaders should be taking notice of, utilizing their gifts and from whom we should be gleaning valuable information.  As leaders, these are the ones we should be grateful for, caring for, and recognizing.  These are the people who would faithfully go on without us.  Leaders are important, but not as important as those they lead.

I don't believe in teaching people they should be leaders.  I understand, support and preach the absolute necessity of being excellent.  It is my goal in life.  I suggest we promote excellence and not hold up one position in life, or one gift, or one calling, as the only one to have without somehow coming up short or having a sub-standard life.  I suggest we stress integrity.  I suggest we stress personal best.  I suggest we teach personal responsibility and accountability again.  I suggest we go back to rewards for a job well done.  Stop handing out prizes for every mundane bit of effort.  Stress doing work that we'd be willing to sign our names to and on which we would willingly lay our reputations.

I suggest we recognize excellence in others whose callings are not at all like our own, whether we understand them or not.  Leaders are not placed over men to put a value on their lives, but to be wise and recognize their callings and to be skillful in utilizing them for the greatest benefit to the Kingdom of God.  In this there is fulfillment for everyone, humbleness, and honor to God.

Jesus brought out the best in people.  He helped them discover their potential and built them up in it.  He didn't coddle or pander, nor did He belittle or insult those who were given to Him.  He loved them.  He was always "moved with compassion" by those who came to Him.  He instructed, corrected, and eventually trusted them to carry on in His place.


He is Lord of all, Master, King of Kings, yet He came as a servant. He called us friends, and He treats us like friends.  He praised His servants for their faithfulness and gave them promotions and increase.  Is this how we treat those who are "under" us?  The only time He suggested that we were "under" Him was when He said He wished we'd let Him draw us "under" His wings.  Can we claim that this is our motivation?

Leaders: Let's stop acting like we are the only ones with purpose.  Let's stop believing that we are the only ones with smart ideas or who are capable of any real meaningful accomplishments.  Let's stop thinking of our position as a some sort of societal rank and start looking at it as a blessing entrusted to us by God for the benefit of His children.  Stop looking at accomplishments as personal victories and realize that without God we could never have done it and there'd be no need for us at all.  These people with their problems and difficulties and foibles are not stepping stones to greater advancement or notoriety among men.  They are God's favorites.  His.  He's given us a very humbling charge and an awesome ministry, not an opportunity to be a celebrity.  

Let's humble ourselves.  Real humility sees God's hand in it all.  He is filling needs and dispensing blessings through us.  Any real accomplishment is His.  Being in a position to be able to do what we do is His hands extending into our world.  It's our calling and a great blessing.  I'm thankful for it and in awe that He chose me to have any part in His marvelous plan.

4 comments:

Retta said...

Here, here! Excellent blog, my friend. Leaders lead, followers follow, tinkers tinker ... the list could go on. None are better than the others. Equal. Even if we are all leaders, we lead in different areas and/or in different ways ... and in one area/thing or another, we will follow.

Representative said...

Loretta!! I've missed you! My blog is pretty empty without you. :)

Morgan Miller said...

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