I have shared it previously, but my doctoral dissertation definition of leadership was
taking a person or group where they need to go.
Relationships and communication are needed in order to lead a person or group. From these two, the leader gains an understanding of the need(s) of the person or group. Understanding the need(s) forms a vision of the destination, and evidence of leading occurs when there is movement toward that destination.
Last week I attended a meeting with LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. During the Partners Summit, Mark Miller spoke. Miller serves on the Executive Team for Chick-fil-A. Early into his presentation, Miller asked several leadership questions that are relevant for the church and for Sunday School. The first one he asked was this one:
Do we have an agreed-upon definition of leadership?
Common or shared language is key for communication and for leadership. Too often in our churches, Sunday Schools, and classes, we use the same words to mean different things. In the last month, I discovered this reality in a conversation with a Sunday School director. The director was sharing ideas for a planning meeting the next day. As we talked, I realized there was a misunderstanding by the director and the teachers. I took a couple of minutes to define and compare two terms, and quickly clarity came about how to move forward.
Character and Skill
In Mark Miller’s presentation, he shared his visual of leadership: an iceberg. Think about an iceberg. About 90% of it is below the water. Miller says our leadership skill (which is easily seen) is the part of the iceberg above water. But the leader’s character is like the part of the iceberg below water.
Your character will tend to express itself in your skill, and it will inform your leadership definition. Without leadership, movement will tend to be inefficient and not together. A leader with poor character will seldom know or care about the needs of those he/she leads. Vision will often be selfish, and evidence of leadership will tend to be lacking.
Keep in mind the words of Psalm 78:72 (CSB):
He shepherded them with a pure heart and guided them with his skillful hands.
Follow the Lord’s leadership with a pure heart. Point to Him. Lead His people with that pure heart and with skillful hands. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!