Somehow, brothers, we have been duped into believing that Leadership is such a hard concept to grasp, without ‘help’ from an ‘expert’. The ‘idol’ of Leadership is one that has generated a host of ‘worship’ for those self-styled ‘gurus’--both male and female--who anxiously sell their tapes and books to a soft-headed public. I could mention names, but they don’t need to have any more publicity that they already have, courtesy of full-page newspaper ads, and fancy radio and television spots, broadcast in prime time, and other sections of the broadcast day.
These ‘gurus’ have rallies, seminars, PowerPoint presentations, and a host of other toys and tools designed to stir the emotions, and play with the pocketbook
Let me help you save a few dollars, and your time.
If you want to study leadership, all one really needs is a library card.
Go to your public library and check out books about great men and women from the past. Dumas. Sunday. Carver. Churchill. Washington. Moody. Thatcher. King.
But, if you want to really KNOW what leadership entails, be a leader right where you are--in your home, on your job, or in your community. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, your emotions tested, and to spend a few sleepless nights, wondering if you made the right choices in commanding your family, and yourself.
GOOD STUFF FROM BACK IN THE DAY:
There is an old African-American saying which fits our discussion of leadership for this issue: “Drop your bucket where you are!” The saying is credited to famed economist, educator, and teacher Booker T. Washington. In essence, Washington was saying: “One does not have to travel far to be of service, or be a blessing to a community. It takes more in the way of courage and intestinal fortitude for a man to use his own gifts in his own backyard, rather than traveling halfway around the world to try to impress, and win the right to lead someone else.”
My brothers, God has created you to be unique. Each one of us have the leadership skills placed within us to get the job done. However, in our ‘get it now’ feminized societies--on both sides of the border--we have been led to believe that we have to have ‘forever teaching and training’ in order to be REAL leaders.
Frankly, this is not what true leadership is all about. And, in the remainder of our time together this month, I’ll supply you with several key points that will show you that you are already a leader, in your own sphere of influence.
If you can lead in your own home, your own workplace, and in your own community--without the glare of television lights, and the placement of microphones--you will discover that you may get the opportunity to be promoted by God into a larger arena, and lead thousand, or possibly, millions.
*First, a true leader is willing to live, and inspire others to rise, to a standard of upright living! Oh yes, my friend, it boils down to your character in your own sphere of influence. If you like to ‘cut corners’, or have a ‘double life’, you will not be doing much in the way of teaching those around you how to be a man (or woman) of character. Take a sobering look at those whom we admire in history. Their parents, in many cases, were their greatest influence on their young lives.
*Second, a true leader has a passion for an identifiable dream! It’s not about a lukewarm pursuit for an ‘out there’ something, but a tactical plan for a dream birthed within his spirit, soul, and body. There has to be something you want to accomplish, something you want to do, that will consume you. It dominates your thoughts, is the focus of your dreams, and marks many of your waking moments. It is not an accident, but something that gets you up and ready to face a new day--every day.
*Third, a true leader has an eye for preparation! It means that this person invests their time in reading up on their mission. The television is off, much of the time. The weak, the naysayers, and the people who will drain your drive are kept at a firm distance. Whether it means that one will have to go back to school, spend time on line reading research papers and articles on their endeavor, or talking with those who have already done what he wants to do, a true leader marks their time well in preparation for the big event. They know that information on their given pursuit continues to change and expand, and they are determined to keep up with it, weeding out the bad, and keeping the good.
*Fourth, a true leader is willing to get their hands dirty. History is replete with those in leadership who got ‘down in the trenches’. Napoleon could be found at the front of the battle. MacArthur vowed that he would return to the scene of one of his greatest military defeats. King was one of the first to go to jail whenever the cops threatened his march and his workers. Ford started on the floor of the factory. Gates started Microsoft in his head, and then put it down on paper. Dumas penned the Three Musketeers.
*Fifth, a true leader is one who is willing to make sacrifices for the good of the objective. He knows what needs to go overboard to lighten the balloon, or, what needs to stay aboard the craft, to keep in on course. He does not ask others to sacrifice what he is not willing to sacrifice. A real leader is the first one to cut his pay substantially, before he goes to his workers and asks THEM to take a pay cut.
*Sixth, a true leader learns from their mistakes. There is nothing worst under the sun than a man who keeps running the same play, without keeping an eye on the opposition. If you have blown it, learn from it, suck it up, and learn from your mistakes. It is truly tragic to make the same mistake, when there are so many new mistakes you can make--and one of them could get your ball across life’s goal line.
*Lastly, a true leader has compassion for others. He may be getting the gravy on his plate, but makes sure that others have enough bread to get a share of the plate, too. He is not successful, unless his team is successful. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of everyone on his team, whether they are men or women, and knows what kind of training, motivation, and skills-enhancement each person needs to not only feel successful, but to BE successful.
Far too many leaders get out of the oven before they are completely ‘done’. They get upset with their underlings, when it is THEY who have forgotten how to be compassionate. There is a temptation to run ‘over there’ to demonstrate leadership skills, when the real showplace can be in one’s own back yard.
The Bible states it plain--if a man can’t rule his OWN household, he can’t be trusted with a bigger post, in a larger picture. This is, perhaps, the hardest rule of Real Life 101.
I put this month’s column together with the aid of several authors on leadership whom I admire. Dr. Myles Munroe. John R. Maxwell. Richard Marcinko. Their information did not come from a think tank, or a committee. Tried and true methods in their own lives, and hanging around with successful leaders, led these men--and others whom you may have read--to know their craft.
My brothers, you don’t need to search for leaders. Just lead where you are, and be the leader you were created to be. The results will bless you--and those around you.