Leading with Authority
How many times have you heard this from a leader you're coaching: "I don't want to tell people what the vision is, I want it to come from them." As a coach, what do you do when this situation pops up?
To talk about effective strategy in this environment, two key insights have to factor in. (We'll cover one in this post and one in our next post.) First of all, there is a difference between leading and leading with authority. Second, vision coming from the people is not a Biblical idea.
First, let's talk about leading with authority. The school of thought that says "everyone is a leader" is gaining more and more momentum. There are conferences popping up all over the place that build on that very idea. "Leadership is influence over someone else!" is the refrain of this camp! There's a lot of truth to this mindset, and you can learn a lot of terrific leadership skills in this environment. Most of us will be more effective if learn some tangible leadership skills and apply them to our work and life.
But there is a difference between having leadership skills and being a leader. One is something you can learn, the other is something that is only God given.
To truly be a leader, there is an intangible at work, something that we can't acquire for ourselves no matter how hard we seek after it. First a couple framing statements: a leader is someone who others follow and leaders are ultimately judged by the fruit their leadership produces. If these are true, the ultimate fruit that gets passed on to the people following a leader are kingdom things. Where do kingdom things come from? The Scripture is very clear that these originate with God. There's something that starts with God, works through the leader and gets passed on to those who are following. Some Christian faith traditions call this spiritual authority, others have other names for it.
At it's core, this authority is the intersection between calling and competency. One can lead without a calling, but it's less effective. Once can have a calling to lead and no competency, but again, this lowers effectiveness. You need both.
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