Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leadership, huh.

My mom was reading an excerpt from some Christian leadership book. The author rewords that Bible verse in Matthew where Jesus said the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few, ask God to send laborers into the harvest field. Basically, there's much work to be done but not a lot of workers to do it, so ask God to send workers to do the work. The author rewords that passage and says that there's a lot of work to be done but the leaders are run down, out of focus, or without goals. So ask God to send - basically - the right leaders.

And that just irritated me.  Okay, maybe I took the author's word completely out of context but that's my first impression of what he wrote. What is it with all these leadership books that seem to want to fault every leader out there? Or every person that steps into a leadership role. They're run down, out of focus, have no goals, don't have anymore steam, blah, blah, blah. Then they say to find leaders or cultivate leaders who are this or that or have this quality or characteristic. Out with the old and in with the new, eh? That just bites. I'm so irritated because it seems like nobody is asking why those leaders are run down, out of focus, have no goals, or steam. Nobody seems to care how those leaders got to be that way.

I don't care how unmotivated a leader is. Once upon a time, that leader had motivation. Once upon a time, those same leaders who don't seem to be leading were great leaders ready to "set the trail for others to follow" as the picture says. And they did set trails. They probably blazed through trails with much gusto and moxie. But somewhere along the way, they lost steam. And instead of asking why or publishing books on how to encourage the leaders we now have, the general consensus seem to be is to find new and better leaders.

Being a leader can be very lonely. They don't tell you that in school. No, they tell you to strive to be a leader and to lead the way. But they don't tell you the pitfalls. They don't tell you that you'll be under appreciated and criticized. They don't tell you that your inner circle will get even smaller because, as a leader, you have to be extremely careful about what you say and who you say it to. They don't tell you that there will be times when you wouldn't know who to confide in without breaking some confidentiality clause or risk losing someone's faith in your ability to lead.

But don't the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Sure, but I'm not talking about perks you might get by being in a leadership position. If that's all you want, the stress will get to you. But when you see goals or dreams or hard work come to fruition, then yeah. Being a leader can give a great satisfaction. But I think there are many moments where - if I'm going to be totally honest - being a leader just plain sucks.

No comments: