During my first 10 years of ministry, I read more books on leadership than any other topic. I loved to learn about the life and influence of leaders and hoped to grow in my own effectiveness. Over the last several years, many of my views of leadership have drastically changed. Much of what I would have agreed with and believed in my first decade of ministry is now almost embarrassing. Here are a few examples of some things I see differently: I once thought that leadership requires a position from which to influence. Not true. Leadership positions are meaningless without natural and spiritual authority. I wrote more about this HERE.
I once thought that the leader needs to be the one who knows the most about the topic at hand. I now know that a good leader is one who simply knows and admits what he does not know and allows others to arise and shape things.
Finally, and most drastic is this: for years and years, I have heard leadership authors teach that "you are only leading if you have people following you." And for years I thought that the goal of a leader is followers....people that look to them, trust them and follow them. And there is nothing necessarily wrong with that. But it is a terribly incomplete understanding of leadership...
I actually don't have followers as a goal anymore. Instead, I think the greatest calling of a leader is to equip, encourage and empower others to lead! Inspire and motivate leaders to flourish and run! They go. They lead. They soar. They don't follow. I would rather follow them, not have them follow me.
I just think leadership is WAY more about sending and launching others who can go send and launch others than it is gaining followers. If we are to reproduce and give away our gifts, than leaders need to make leaders, not followers.
Yes, I know that the Apostle Paul says "Follow me as I follow Christ" -- and that should be true of all of us. But a brief glance at Paul's life and you can see what he meant...and it was certainly not that everyone would be led by him. He released leaders all over the place!
So, this is what I devote a lot of my time to these days. Making leaders, not gaining followers.