leadership ebb and flow: insights from a temporary leader

Several weeks ago I requested permission to host a comedy night at my church. The event is intended to benefit local kids and parents by gathering school supplies and giving them to those in need. When the request was approved I launched into the task with enthusiasm. I arranged the date and venue, recruited cast members, created marketing materials, began rehearsals, arranged for staging and beverages, and…and…well…*this is awkward*…much to my dismay (just kidding, sorta), I realized I had slipped into leadership mode….

I am learning some insights through the process, or at least I am being reminded. There is an ebb and flow in the leadership matrix which takes its cues from relationships: with cast members, church administrators, church attendees, elders, pastors, neighbors, and so on. A savvy leader senses when it is time to take charge and make a decision, and when it is best to let others step forward, expressing their views even if the leader might not do things precisely their way.

There is a time to wave the standard, and a time to charge forward ahead of the team, blazing a trail for them to follow. A time to remain quiet, and a time to allow others to take the lead. A time to express your creative talents, and a time to defer to the creative expressions of others. A time to gently correct, and a time to encourage and comfort.

Emotional IQ figures heavily into the success or failure of a leader’s ability to navigate this ebb and flow well. All the flow charts, S.W.O.T diagrams (I love S.W.O.T., mainly because it is fun to say and most people have no idea what it means!), TQM tools, empowerment bling (think of every conceivable item of apparel, trash receptacles, coffee mugs,  lapel pins, and washable tatoos) with the church’s logo on it, and speechifications cannot replace a simple ability to relate well to all kinds of people. With sincerity. Transparency. A positive attitude which sets the standard through one’s own work ethic. You know, leadership. The kind people respect, willingly follow, and want to emulate, only without the typical leadership doublespeak found in church and business literature.

I am not saying I am that kind of leader. I’m not. Not yet, anyway. But my pastor is. And that is why I wanted to try one more time to learn from his example by attempting to put into practice the principles he has learned and exemplified in 35 years as the pastor of my church.

Any measure of success surely is indebted to his leadership.

You know, the kind people want to follow and emulate.


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