What makes a leader a leader?
Steve Gillen, Willow Creek North Shore’s campus pastor, defines it this way – “Leadership consists of two basic things: 1.) People following you, and 2.) Going towards a destination.” Maybe you’re sturdier stock than I am, but this proposition is a scary one! It means we’re always leading – whether we’re aware or not!
Here’s the thing. We’re always moving towards a destination. Maybe you’re surfing the web right now – moving towards comfort? Disengagement? Knowledge? You’re moving towards something. And the first part of the equation, “people following you,” is something I have no control over. People freely choose whether or not to follow me. At work, at home, in friendships, and in the world – people can and will follow me. I have impact in this world, good or bad.
The bible constantly explains leadership in terms of paths. Wide is the path that leads to destruction (Matt 7:13). How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicket, or take the path of sinners (Psalm 1:1). He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name (Psalm 23:3). Everyone is on a path, chosen consciously or unconsciously, that has a final destination.
What path are you on? Do we spend enough time thinking about that, or are we getting too caught up in how we’re walking, who is on the path with us, and what others think about our stride?
The thing is that no matter how much I want to lead through telling people what to do and what to think about me, I’m actually leading through living. We all affect one another, positively or negatively. How you live your life matters.
This morning when I asked a client to bare her soul I was in integrity because yesterday I had a coaching session in which I was completely vulnerable and without my defenses. I have given up that which makes me safe in the service of my own authenticity and growth. I’m on that path and others are free to join me. I don’t have the answers. I’m quite far from my destination. But I’m definitely on the path.
What path are you on, where are you going, and who’s right behind you?