Here is a description of a Leader that I think we would all choose to follow. One that:
- Never gives up
- Cares more for others than self
- Is not envious of others’ success
- Is not prideful
- Does not let success go to his or her head
- Does not force his or her will on others
- Is not always about “me first”
- Never flies off the handle
- Does not keep track of others failures
- Does not revel when others have to grovel
- Is most satisfied when the truth unfolds
- Puts up with almost anything
- Trusts that he is not God and therefore does not have to try to control everything
- Always looks for the best in everything for every one
- Never looks back longingly to the past
- Always presses forward to the goal, regardless of the obstacles
- Will NEVER FAIL
Who would not follow this leader? What leader could ever measure up to this list?
The list may sound familiar to some of you. It is a loose adaptation from “The Message” version of the Bible, the 13th chapter of I Corinthians, verses 4 through 7. It is often called “the love chapter” and these verses are the core versus that define what “Love Is.” I was listening to a podcast recently where these were being read for a completely unrelated topic and it occurred to me how well they described the Leader I aspire to become.
So my brief message of the day, from the message version of the bible, is that if you want to be a great leader you do not have to read a library of leadership books, attend exhaustive leadership training, read leadership blogs (except mine, of course!), or conduct exhaustive employee surveys. All of these things are good, but to be a great leader the secret is to walk in love. Not wimpy, spineless, ooey gooey feeling kind of love, but strong, courageous, powerful, sacrificial love as described above.
A wise man once said, “you cannot give what you do not have,” so if you find yourself struggling to lead as described above you might need to ask yourself, “Have I ever received that kind of love.” It is a rare thing to find, yet it has been offered to everyone.
If you have received this kind of love but are struggling to lead in this manner it may be that the cultural messages of leadership by control, greed being good, looking out for number one, and the view that people are just interchangeable cogs in a wheel, merely means to your ends, are superseding the TRUTH.
What is the TRUTH? Our lives are just a “vapor waiting to pass” and the only thing that matters is how well we loved and served others in our brief slice of eternity in which we drift in before we fade away. It is the lives we touch that will determine our legacy. Nothing we build will last forever. No companies, no buildings, no nations or confederation have eternal lives. Only people do. You might fail to execute on a business plan or strategy. You may not get that promotion, or your dream job. Does that mean you failed? NO! People are the only things that are eternal. Even “heaven and earth will pass away.” All that really matters is the impact we have on people, who impact other people, and so on, and so on…
So you want to be a leader who never fails? Learn to love.