Saturday, June 25, 2011

Few Leadership Thoughts

In the past few days I've been doing a lot of thinking about leadership. One of the main things I've been thinking is how hard it is to lead--even to lead poorly is desperately hard. No matter where you lead--in your family, your work, your church or organization--everything that goes well is credited to those you lead and everything that goes wrong is your fault.

When I expressed this to my husband he said, "Well, the failures may not be your fault but they're always your responsibility." It seems to me, though, that all the leadership training I've done makes it sound like if you could just somehow perfect your leadership abilities everything would run great--the team would be productive and cohesive and the results would be quality.

I started to wonder if this was really accurate....and then I thought of Jesus. He poured his life into twelve guys for three years. He lived with them and taught them both by word and by perfect example. Since Jesus was divine and perfect there could have been no failure in his leadership.

Yet, in the end, when He needed them most, they all betrayed or denied or deserted Him. They took off and hid. It looked like all those years of focused leadership meant nothing.

Of course, that wasn't the end of their story. But, still...that's enough to prove to me that even perfect leadership doesn't guarantee perfect results. In fact as long as leadership involves people--as both leaders and followers--we're pretty much guaranteed not to have perfect results.

So maybe I should lower my standards for myself and for those on my team. Maybe I can apologize for my failures and move on. Maybe I can learn to give grace for my shortcomings and those of others and just, by God's grace, try again.

And be ready for failure when it comes.


  1. Or look for the successes as your people grow into who God has intended them to be. Jesus (for)knew the disciples would fail him, but He poured into them any way. As you said, their failures and hiding was not the end of the story, for them either. You may never see your team come to fruition, but you will get a glimpse of it growing. Kathy, my sister, are not a failure in your team's eyes nor in His. You are, in the words of Wendy Newell, fearfully, wonderfully weaved.

  2. Hi Kathy,
    You know, I have been trying to stop using the word "perfect" because what really is (other than God)? We are so flawed, and our efforts do often seem to fall so far short. But I believe the important thing is that we try, and then give ourselves permission to accept a really big dose of God's grace. We are often harder on ourselves than He is, it seems. I like what Pamela said here, reminding us that despite their shortcomings many of the disciples did achieve great things for God.
    I think of you whenever I am out looking for items for my shoeboxes, and wonder how many soft toys you have found this month, or how many pencils!
    I wonder (regarding your earlier post) if there is someone in your church you could equip to take a leadership roll of OCC there? So that you can continue to focus on your regional responsbilities? I am trying to come up with other ideas to fund Christmas Child here, pull in others, etc as it looks like we won't really manage to do our family boxes next year...I should really see what God says, shouldn't I?!! Love Amy