What is a leader? How do we know leadership when we see it? What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
The purpose of a leader is a multi-faceted consideration, including casting and pursuing a vision, service to others, sacrificing self for larger issues, standing in the gap where others fail to stand, holding strong to principles, fighting for causes, taking responsibility, giving credit, eliminating obstacles, developing more leaders, and empowering and encouraging others. Orchestrations, administration, management, and coordination must also be looked to; usually by placing others with requisite gifts into correct positions. In short, leadership is the giving of what you have to others so they can collectively give (and accomplish) more than otherwise would have been possible. We add when we do, but we multiply when we lead.
Consider your gifts, your position, your abilities, and your blessings. Mobilize those assets in the service of others wherever you are, whoever you are, and with whatever you have, whenever you can.
A leader doesn’t give people what he/she wants. A leader gives people what they need. What people need might not be what they want to receive at the time. A leader, however, knows to look beyond what people want, and answer what is needed.
Good parents show this quality with their children. Children like candy. Parents want children to develop good habits in nutrition, and not to develop cavities. So parents, acting in their roles as leaders of their children, give the children what they need, which is good and nutritious food, instead of the candy the children want.
Chris Brady also said,
Leaders serve. Leaders are not meant to sit in a position of authority and soak up the benefits of title. They serve again and again from different positions and in various circumstances. In fact, leaders themselves could be said to be ‘service revolvers:’ going from person to person and from opportunity to opportunity to ‘be of’ service. Their privileges are not for their pleasure but rather for their purpose.
Leaders are different from managers, because managers expect to be obeyed. We all know from experience what happens when managers are in charge. As Chris Brady pointed out, leaders do the opposite. Any group of people, whether it be a family, committee, church, business, charity or whatever, is blessed indeed when leaders are at the helm. But that can only happen when we fire the managers in ourselves, and give ourselves permission to serve and lead.
Let’s give that permission, both to ourselves and others.