Leadership is Responsibility
Today there are many definitions of leadership. For several decades now, countless books have been written, blog-posts have been posted, and conferences have been held trying to help people understand and pursue the dynamics of leadership. So many of these resources are really helpful in terms of understanding methods of leadership, but many of them lack a particular definition of and foundation for what leadership actually is. Furthermore, among those that do include a definition there is no agreement on what that definition actually is. So, what is leadership, and what is the foundation for understanding the idea of leadership?
At its core leadership is responsibility. You are called to lead the things for which you are responsible. If God has given you a task or role, then you are called to lead, to get the thing done, to do the thing well, and to involve the right people. Some tasks and projects can be done by just one person. They don’t require you to be on the top of a big organization, but if you can’t be responsible for small things, then you can never lead big things.
Understand Your Responsibility
God is a God of order, and he has given certain tasks to us in creation. In the beginning God put the man and the woman over creation to care for it and to cultivate it. From that time God has called men and women to be the leaders over creation, and to ultimately be responsible for the care of his creation. Obviously, the man and the woman forsook their responsibility and rather than leading over creation in obedience to God, they both listened to a created thing (the serpent) and disobeyed God. Today God is still giving us a task of creation care and cultivation. If you build houses, you are cultivating creation. If you teach children, you are cultivating and caring for creation. If you cut hair, ultimately you are helping to order creation. All of these tasks, because they flow from the original command of God to be fruitful and to cultivate the things that God has made, require some sort of leadership. If you are leading over the raw materials and construction workers necessary for home building, or leading over the children you are teaching, or leading over the person whose hair you are cutting, then all of these require some kind of leadership, and they are all part of the responsibility that God has given us. Leadership is responsibility.
God called the man to lead his wife well, to be the head of his household, and to be held accountable for the well-being of his family. Thus, the man is called to lead his family. The other day I was complaining to my wife, Paige, about time management and how it was difficult to balance all of the tasks that I had to do both at work and at home, and in reply she simply looked at me and said, “Well it’s your responsibility.” She was right. I am the leader of my home, and for that matter I am the leader of my life, and leadership is responsibility. It is ultimately my responsibility to manage my own schedule, eating habits, finances, etc., but it is also my responsibility to lead my wife and children well.
There are inevitably a lot of things that God in his perfect providence has called you to lead. He has given you responsibility for different pieces of his creation, and if he has given you a responsibility, then you are called to lead, and lead well.
Understand The Skepticism
Leadership is responsibility and a great responsibility to carry especially when you are called to lead over a group of people. The larger the group, the greater the responsibility and the more difficult the task. Because people like to be in control and don’t like change, people are skeptical of leaders. This makes the responsibility of leadership a lot more difficult. One thing every leader has to understand is that leadership is responsibility, and if you are leading a team of people to accomplish a task you are not just responsible for the task, but you are also responsible for the people working on that task with you. It is poor trade to sacrifice the people you are responsible for in order to accomplish the task you are leading. Leadership is responsibility at every level, especially at the level of leading other people, and people, especially those that have been led poorly, are skeptical of leaders. Remember this when you are leading your wife, your children, your co-workers, and even in your areas of civic leadership. You will be more successful in getting things done over the long haul if you take more responsibility for the people that you are leading than you do for the project that you are accomplishing.
Don’t Blame The Previous Administration
Every leadership role has great benefits and challenges. When you take on a leadership role you inherit all of the good that role brings and all of its challenges. One of the worst things that you could do is to waste time blaming the previous leader for the mistakes that they made or the decisions that they made that you disagree with. You took the job, you agreed to the responsibility, and when you did, you inherited all of the good of the job and all of the challenges. Leadership is responsibility, and when you take on a leadership position you are responsible. A lot of people, organizations, and tasks that you will be leading will have scars from people that came before you, and while you need to understand those things it does you no good to sit around and blame or talk poorly about the people that came before you. Get to work, own the responsibility, and try to do the right thing knowing that you won’t do everything perfectly either.
There is a lot more that could be said about the responsibility of leadership but remember leadership, before it is anything else, is responsibility-a responsibility given to you by God, and even the smallest responsibilities are important and bring God much glory when done according to his order. So, look to him for help and strength, and seek to honor him in the way you lead.
If you are interested in talking further about this and live in the Atlanta area, come and join me and dozens of other men for The Spotted Cow on November 15, 2018 at 7pm at the Covenant Collective (2451 Peachtree Road Atlanta, GA 30309). The Spotted Cow is a forum where you can both learn from other men and express your thoughts and questions. We will serve smoked meat, beverages, and will have a large fire. This week we are talking about Leadership, and we’d love for you to join us as we Think Through It.