Monday, April 09, 2012

Gift of Leadership

It's a phrase we toss about far too often and far too freely. We use it to heap praise on someone we admire, while at other times we use it as a self-defeatist attitude towards the perception we have about our own abilities.

Gifted in leadership.

We often focus on leadership through the lens of commenting on someone's skills (or lack thereof). We have all, at times, made this judgement call for good and for ill about someone we have heard speak, present on a topic, spearhead a committee, run a department or division...or even preach. Run a church or ministry.

But instead of looking as leadership as a gift one possesses, what if we saw it for what it truly is: something that is given. Leadership is a gift, and as such, it is one that is offered, not something that is taken (or born into, as far as abilities go). As someone to whom this gifting has been spoken about - as being in the positive, in case you were curious - I have come to view my leadership through a slightly different lens, which helps to keep both my ego and my heart in check as I serve through leading:

Leadership is a gift where I am given trust. What I have to say matters to the audience who hears it. Not only do my listeners trust me to speak and act in truth, but they trust that WHAT I have to say matters - not only to them, but to those down the road who will feel the ramifications of what I say and do.

Leadership is a gift where I am given time. The mind and heart can only absorb as much as the behind can tolerate, so I need to honor the clock of my audience and use the platform I have wisely. This is not the time (pun intended) for ad-libbing and speaking unprepared.

Leadership is a gift where I am given a platform. Note that I did not say I am given a soapbox to promote my own agenda. If you don't get the difference, ask a friend about it.

Leadership is a gift where I am given a voice. Not just "a" voice, but MY voice. My unique and distinct voice, which has been prepared to deliver and speak the words which have been laid upon my heart. Learning to trust that YOUR voice matters is perhaps the most difficult lesson. All humility aside, while the message IS greater than the messenger, the messenger does indeed matter. Your voice matters. YOU matter.

Consider this: those you lead could have chosen to give this gift to anyone. It was you that they chose. Honor this gift by honoring those who gave it to you. 

Serve well. Lead well.

After all, there's no return receipt.

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