Leadership is a life thing.
Leadership is a gift. Great leaders give you gifts.
Leadership is given to every society, culture, and people group around the world. From parenting to police officers, pastors, and politicians, leadership is placed in our lives everywhere we go. To have a great leader is like receiving a great gift.
At some point, you will realize there were people throughout your life who helped you get to where you are today. Those people are leaders.
Maybe it was a parent or coach, a youth pastor, or a Sunday school teacher. Perhaps it was the manager of the night shift at your first job or the uncle you only saw three times a year. These people hold special places in our hearts and lives because of what they left to us. They left a deposit of significance, never a withdrawal for selfish gain. Thinking about it now, it may be a surprise to you how much of an impact they truly made on your life.
The gift of leadership is embracing the gift a leader has given to you and using it to benefit others.
What I believe people tend to misunderstand about leadership is the overall place for it in life in general. In every sphere of life, you look into; you see the deep need for leadership. Families need leadership to guide the day-to-day necessities of life. Marriages need leadership to remain together and in covenant. Companies need leadership to motivate team members to hit the right marks of purpose and profit. The military needs leadership to keep soldiers safe and strategic. The government utilizes leadership to represent the needs of the people and respond to threats against their livelihoods. In religious and academic environments, leadership finds its place by educating people and extracting greatness from their lives. More than ever, true leadership is needed.
My fear is that we do not honor leadership anymore. Because the term leader has been equally connected to the people who've abused the title, been crushed by the pressure of performance, mismanaged the responsibility of what it truly means to be a leader, the vast population doesn't view leadership as something to be honored and respected anymore. Students in classrooms talk back to teachers. Streets are vandalized as the police are mocked and disregarded. Husbands and wives do not respect each other, causing children to grow up with a tilted perspective of what it means to truly give your life to someone. People in the pews question those in the pulpit, all while employees feel neglected by their employers who would rather make a buck than invest in the team.
Leadership is not what you build but rather who you build. Jesus showed us that by developing the disciples. When we allow leadership to take its intended place in our lives, areas that seem chaotic will quickly become calm. Questions are connected to answers, and curiosity is filled with certainty. Leadership is about people more than it is about the process.
You know you've encountered a great leader when you are full of gratitude, knowing your life has been impacted, and you are inspired to go do the same for someone else. Leadership is having someone help you through life and, in return, doing the same for someone else and having and helping. You do not find leadership; leadership finds you when you are willing to accept the responsibility.
I believe everyone can be a leader.
The journey we are about to embark on together through the pages of this book is the process of accepting the gift of leadership in your life.
I realize that everyone reading this book today comes from different places and different backgrounds. For me, I write this from a place where my faith is the central core of everything I revolve my life around and my day-to-day actions. Where I understand not everyone currently would subscribe to my position that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, that's what I love about leadership. It transcends your story and your beliefs and, when done correctly, just keeps giving. During our time together, I will pull from my faith and belief in Jesus to highlight some of the lessons of leadership I have become accustomed to.
This book has been distilled into three parts.
- Part 1 is about Leadership | The invitation and impartation of the gifting to lead.
- Part 2 is about Leaders | The development of the giver, and how to develop others.
- Part 3 is about Leading | The motivation and management of gifts needed to lead a vision daily.
As we start down this path together, let's make sure we have a few vocabulary distinctions figured out before we take off. Throughout this book, you will see the terms leadership, leaders, and leading.
- Leadership is the gifting, principle, assignment, and anointing that drives an individual toward a specific mission and vision.
- A leader is an individual who is willing to accept the terms and conditions of what comes with the responsibility and weight that leadership brings. A leader is not gender-specific. There are great male leaders and great female leaders. For simplicity, in these writings, I will simply refer to both genders as "leaders."
- Leading is the decision to devote your time and decisions to develop the talents within someone else and build a purpose-driven vision for the benefit of others.
The words in this book are a collection of leadership lessons, ideas, thoughts, experiences, and memorable moments from some of the greatest leaders around. My hope is that you would be open to seeing what I have seen, great leadership for what it truly is. These pages are about appreciating the lessons from the people we learn from and using the principles they have given us to "gift" generations of leaders after us. Great leadership uses principles and responsibilities to give and grow a person through a specific season of their life so they can become the next best version of who they were destined to be. Leadership is always leaning in the direction of growth. It is the ultimate gift that will always return dividends back to you. Leadership leads the way to a new way of living. It is the gift that will always keep giving.
My wife, Amanda, loves Christmas. She's one of those people who would love for it to be Christmas time year-round if it were possible. And even though we live in Texas, where "winter" is anything below 60 degrees, there's no stopping my sweet Amanda when it comes to her holiday decor, traditional Christmas carols, and a never-ending supply of food and Christmas treats in the kitchen. As if "Christmas in July" wasn't enough, we have Christmas all the time in so many different ways. Though it is not a focal point of the celebration in the middle of December, everyone knows that the beloved Christmas Gift exchange is either something people look forward to or dread with every fiber of their being. Christmas is a special time when we give something to someone else that reflects our heart for the person we are giving the gift. It is wrapped up nicely and secure, specific for that person, and is something that the recipient will hold onto for years to come. Gifts are a special bridge of connection between two people.
What a perfect picture of what great leadership looks like. It is a gift to someone's life that will be cherished and carried with them for years to come, and then one day, give it to someone else to do the same. With that said, let's begin to unwrap this precious gift—the gift of leadership.