Leadership:The art of influencing and directing men in such a way as to obtain their willing obedience, confidence, respect, and loyal cooperation in order to accomplish the mission.. USMC Boot Camp Knowledge handbook; Parris Island, SC August 1983
One of the first things I learned as a young recruit in Marine Corps boot camp was the definition of leadership. It was drilled into us from day one and we had to learn it verbatim being able to recite it on demand. Why was it so important? Because the ultimate goal was to shape and mold leaders of the future from within the ranks of the Corps.
Not everyone has been able to master the skill of leadership. That is evident all around us. Many people think that a position or title automatically makes you a leader…not so. As the definition indicates, leadership is an art. It involves influence; a virus that causes one to do or act differently when infected by the spirit of the leader (has your leader transmitted the FLU to you?) Then there is direction. You cannot lead without knowing where you are going, nor can you convince others to willfully follow you when its obvious you are lost. Confidence in your abilities as a leader is an essential component in order to obtain the willing obedience of your followers. Next is respect. Respecting the position is one thing; respecting the individual is quite another. Which of the two do you think provides the most effective team results? The final component in the definition is loyal cooperation. Are your subordinates loyal to you and the organization. Is mission accomplishment vital to them? These are questions every leader must face and answer truthfully. There are at least four things a leader must be willing to do. He or she must be willing to remove someone from their position if necessary. By the same token, a leader must be willing to rebuke without berating the individual. Thirdly, the leader should be able to relate to the subordinates. Too often leadership looks on the “troops” as inferior people. Finally, a leader must be willing to restore. There’s nothing worse than a leader bad mouthing one of his followers who had to be removed or rebuked to members of the team or to other leaders. Always leave the door open for correction to take place and restoration to occur. The Lord Jesus, who was CEO of his own organization(ministry), gave us a prime example. After His resurrection, He gave specific instructions: “Go tell my disciples, and Peter…”. He specifically reached out to the very man that denied even knowing Him. Peter was restored and became a great apostle.
How do you get grown people to follow you? Lead the sheep as a shepherd would…with care. Knowledge is wonderful and every leader should strive to attain as much knowledge as possible. But the bottom line is this: people don’t really care how much you know until they know you care.
Recommended Reading: “Jesus CEO” by Laurie Beth Jones