“First, leadership is a process. It is not an event – something that happens once and is over” (Woods, 2016, p. 79).
A colleague of mine echos Rod Woods’ statement by saying “This is a journey, not a sprint.” She utilizes this witticism for many challenges at work but it is no less applicable to leadership. We are on a journey.
To me, the journey starts by getting to know and understand ourselves before we can understand others and work to lead and mentor them. This understanding starts with who we are in Christ. I have been a Christian since my junior year in college back in 1979-1980. However, I have truly understood or embraced being a devoted follower and unashamed leader under Christ for a much shorter period of time. It is this freedom I am finding that is making me a better leader at work, at home and with my community.
First, I am a child of God. As Dr. Neil T. Anderson states in his book, The Bondage Breaker, “Nothing is more foundational to your freedom for Satan’s bondage than understanding and affirming what God has done for you in Christ” (Anderson, 2000, p. 46). It is this freedom that leads us to serve others and lead others. This freedom helps me realize that I am complete in Christ, not in my failures, successes, or accolades (Colossians 2:10).
I am also secure and not condemned. As leaders, the world, our colleagues and or families will try to condemn us for what we have done or attempted to do. In success or failure there is never a dearth of those wishing to condemn or ridicule what we tried. Romans 8: 1 & 2 tells us “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (NIV). Be very cautious to observe that the scripture is clear, “for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And it is because of this security I am to have a spirit of boldness as I lead (2 Timothy 1:7).
Finally, I am significant. Not because of my accomplishments and in spite of my failures, I am significant to God. As leaders, when we get out in front and make decisions the world will fire arrows at us from the safety of their castle walls. They are not called to lead and many could not because of their desire to be comfortable. Leadership is not comfortable. Every step of this journey has disquieting and uncomfortable challenges. John 15:16 tells us we are significant because He chose us. And because of that security I know “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Colossians 2:10, NIV). Therefore we lead regardless of the arrows.
I wrote the above in the first person as it is very personal to me and should be to you. Substitute your name and your “I” in all the statements above. Once as leaders we understand who we are and that God has put us on this earth to accomplish His good works, we have a great freedom and road map to lead. We will trip, stumble and fall but, in Christ, we always have the opportunity to get up and do it again.
Anderson, N. T. (2000). The bondage breaker. Harvest House Publishers
Woods, R. (2016). Freed to lead: How your identity in Christ can transform any leadership role. Monarch Books