There are two kinds of leaders. Which are you more like?
As you can well imagine, I have known, and worked for, many leaders through the years. I have spent my 50 years of ministry life in Southern and Northern California, Sweden, Colorado and Washington State.
I have been involved in a variety of ministry responsibilities and have had a lifetime of experience during those years. I have been an astute student of leadership and leaders for over 30 years.
Now, I am well aware that I can get myself into a heap of trouble by saying you can divide leaders into two groups…three groups…four groups, or any number of groups; but, anyway, let me take a stab at two groups.
Group one is composed of leaders whose world revolves around themselves.
It’s all about their responsibility, their successes, their books, their place in the leadership pecking order, etc. They love to hear themselves talk about their favorite subject…themselves.
A number of years ago I had an appointment with a leader who was experiencing an unusually high degree of success. In my world he was tops. I think I may have spent an hour with him. During that time he never asked me a single question.
He never asked me about how I was doing, how my family was doing or anything about my life or ministry. With very little prompting from me, he talked non-stop about his many successes and accomplishments. It was all about him! He was not the first or last leader I met who was totally focused on himself. People who are all wrapped up in themselves make very small packages. How sad!
Group two is composed of leaders whose world revolves around others.
In one of his blogs, Michael Hyatt shared that when he was new in the publishing world, he was on assignment to interview Billy Graham. He was nervous and unsure of what to expect, being in the presence of such a well-known man of God.
Here, in Hyatt’s own words, is his experience of meeting and spending that time with Billy Graham:
“I arrived at the arena where Mr. Graham was scheduled to speak about an hour before the program was to begin. My palms were sweating. My mouth was dry. But I was eager to meet this great man of God, counting it an extraordinary privilege to meet such a living legend.
“One of his aides ushered me back to the “Green Room”—the special preparation room where speakers wait until it is their turn to speak. When I walked into the room, Mr. Graham was the only one there. He immediately stood up, smiled, and extended his hand, ‘Hi, Michael, my name is Billy.’ (As if I didn’t know.)
“He invited me to sit down and visit with him. I pulled out my day planner with my list of questions. I never got to ask a single one.
“Mr. Graham pummeled me with questions. He asked about my upbringing, my family and my business. He asked me about my relationship with Christ.
“These were not the questions of an interrogator but a friend. He laughed easily, and followed up every answer with another query—before I could turn the tables. He never took his eyes off me. He was totally present.
“I left feeling known and validated. I was on cloud nine. In 20 minutes, he had an impact on me that would forever change the way I think about leadership. I remember thinking; if I am ever in a position of leadership, that’s the kind of person I want to be!”
I am grateful that, over the years, I have worked for a few leaders like Billy Graham.
Here comes the question for you and for me: What kind of a leader am I and what kind of leader am I becoming as the years progress?
“You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you.”
Mark 10:42, 43 The Message
“Jesus also taught: ‘Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets.’”
Mark 12:38, 39 The New Living Translation