For much of my life I have dreamt about being a leader. In my mind leadership always had something to do with “showing the way.” Martin Luther King Jr. did this when he talked about his dream. President Regan did the same when he asked Mr. Gorbachev to tear down this wall! Barack Obama motivated a nation with three simple words, “yes we can!” Jesus did when he preached a sermon on the mount (see Matthew 5-7) Being the kind of leader who can see past the storms of life to what is possible is intoxicating.
Leadership is more than a great speech.
It is true that King gave a great speech that motivated a nation to dream, but before he could stand at the Lincoln Memorial he had to sit in a prison in Birmingham. Jesus knew how to captivate a crowd, but he also knew how to wash his disciples’ feet.
I am about to complete 17 years as the “top dog” at DOOR. I have had a few inspirational moments. The most significant lessons I learned about being a leader have very little to do with “showing the way.” Sometimes being a leader has meant that I got to clean the bathrooms. Other times it has required me to step out of the lime light and let others lead. More often then I care to admit it has required me to apologize and ask for forgiveness. One of the biggest temptations leaders face is arrogance and arrogance has a way of causing all kinds of hurt and pain.
I am not of the school of thought that says everyone is a leader. Leadership is a role that should be taken on with plenty of caution, trepidation and prayer. And know this; a real leader knows that leadership is mostly about being led.