Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leadership, What exactly does this mean?

Recently I have been thinking of what it means to be a leader. It seems that if you find yourself in a position of leadership you need to be someone who operates over and above what the average person would do. What do I mean by this?

Well, for example, I teach a weekly driving school class. As the "leader" or teacher of that class it is my responsibility to be prepared and ready to teach on the days that I have advertised. If for some reason I cannot teach (illness, etc.) then it is my responsibility to make sure that a substitute teacher is in place and is fully informed of their duties. And the duties must be performed regardless of how many students show up to class. If there is only one student, it is my obligation to give them the full service and attention that I would give a class of 10 or 20 students.

Now that can be hard at times and takes a bit of sacrifice. It is tempting to say "Oh, there are not enough students today for me to put much effort into teaching". That would be so wrong. It is not the fault of the one student who showed up and they should not be given lesser treatment because they were the only ones to come. It would make that student feel unimportant and "ripped off".

So a leader has to hold themselves to a higher standard.

The other day I found myself in the situation of the lone student. I attend a weekly women's bible study and this particular day the leader was sick and was unable to make it and the study was going to be canceled. Then at the last moment it was discovered that a substitute leader was available so the study was back on. Only I guess I was the only one who got that message. So I and the "sub" showed up at the meeting place. Now this "sub" did not know me at all, as I'm new to the group. And granted it was her last day in town and she was leaving for good the next day. So this was our one and only chance to connect and get to know one another. This was also a prime opportunity for her to minister to me. After all, I have a lot of baggage and issues I need to work out. Not many people know that, and most think I have my act together. How far wrong they are!

Anyway, what happened is the lady realized I was the only one that was going to show up, so after 20 minutes of trivial talk, she took her leave, claiming packing as her excuse. At first I was fine with this and graciously said my goodbyes. But then as I sat there by myself I started to feel very unimportant and unworthy. And I started to think about what I would have done if the situation was reversed. And you know what? I would have stayed. I would have taken that opportunity to pour into the life of the one soul who showed up. Because that is what a leader must do.

So I guess this post is a bit of a rant and a warning. If you are a leader in any capacity and you have an obligation to lead a group, make sure to give that group, no matter how many show up, 100% of what they deserve. That is the mark of a true leader.