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Monday, May 25, 2015

When and Where Leadership Really Adds Value

“A leader’s job is to add value, not get in the way, or preside or take credit. If things are working, people actually don’t need your help. Go find where they do need you. Sometimes, if things aren’t working, people can see there are problems, but they can’t identify the cause or, consequently, the solution. A leader’s job is to find and address the cause, just as a doctor’s job is to try to cure the disease rather than simply treat the symptoms.”
— Carly Fiorina
I HAVE been criticised for caring too much about ‘the needy people’, so the above quote fills me with affirmation that, the times I’ve chosen to follow God’s call to respond to the needs of care about me, I’ve been a faithful servant — an effective leader.
There is also something about the idea of being involved in the right activities with the right people at the right time in the right way.
I’m thankful for the times when God has said to me, “You have no value to provide in this situation,” even though to obey the Spirit’s leading to disengage has occasionally landed me in hot water.
We need to remember that good leaders and good pastors will be both admired and criticised. We have to deal with both infractions of truth. We are not as good as some people think. We are never what others think.
I recently spoke about the CEO who has had the greatest influence over me regarding leadership spunk and decorum; my state’s incumbent Governor. As a leader, she was both regal in demeanour and graceful in character. But it is one of her general managers — my ex-manager (incidentally, an atheist) — who demonstrated to me the power of servant leadership, a nuance of which I think Fiorina describes above. He was a mentor and I’ll never forget the time he revealed his basic philosophy for leadership: understand the needs of those above you and below you and meet those needs. Such a philosophy is nothing about leadership by getting in the way, presiding over, or taking credit. It’s a servant-natured model. The first senior pastor I worked for believed his sole role was to help and then empower each person at his church to find their gifting and then serve with joy. I thank God he did that with me!
I believe with everything in me that leadership is about needs identification, assessment, strategy, and execution — to attend to those needs efficiently, with care, which is effectiveness.
A leader’s job is to care for those who have the greatest need (unless situations call for a triage approach, which is exceptional); for needy situations leaders are most needed. Good people don’t suck leaders dry, and my experience is no functional person intentionally sucks the source dry when their needs are acknowledged. Needs acknowledgement is important for every single one of us. A good leader exercises a great deal of benefit of the doubt — call it grace.
Leaders are social engineers interested in function diagnostics. What makes them tick is the belief that the people they have are the right blend of people and with the gifts to accomplish anything. The leader is compelled to release each person to excel.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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