Leadership: “It’s Not About You”

When I began leading, I knew that it was an important responsibility. However, I did not understand or expect that leadership could grant money, power, and success. I didn’t realize that people actually pursued leadership opportunities solely for those reasons. We have all read enough headlines, however, to know that those empty motivations alone will not guarantee satisfaction in this life or the next.

“Leadership is about serving the people,” and this is a lesson that I learned fairly early on my leadership journey. Taking an oath “to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic” at the age of eighteen made it very clear that my decision to lead was about service. I agreed to serve my country and its citizens, but adequate training, observations, and challenging experiences equipped me to live out the acceptance of that oath.

Taking the oath was the foundation of teachings about honor, integrity, courage, responsibility, commitment, loyalty, teamwork, and valuing the needs of others above my own needs. The Navy encourages care for your ship, shipmate (those who partner you in service), and yourself, respectively. When entering the Marine Corps as a young officer, I was informed early on that officers eat last. In other words, we would esteem the enlisted personnel, who we were called to serve, by allowing them the opportunity to eat first. Esteeming others above ourselves is fundamental for serving in a manner worthy of the responsibility of leadership.

The esteem of others is secondary only to our desire and responsibility as Christian leaders to glorify God. Glorifying God in this capacity means that we offer him praise, honor, and thanksgiving through the manner in which we lead. At various times in life, we are all called to support missions and vision statements of some sort. Our individual jobs, tasks, or responsibilities will contribute to the overall success or failure of the missions that we support. It is of critical importance that we understand God’s standards for the integrity of our daily living, and whether or not we can, should, and in what capacity we are to complete the tasks that have been assigned to us. The Marine Corps outlines mission accomplishment and troop welfare (or taking care of those that you are called to lead) as the primary responsibilities of every leader.

God has outlined his mission, and he has given us clear instructions about how we are to live and lead:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2: 3-4

God calls us to servant leadership. It is all about Him, and those that he has called us to lead.

How has this realization impacted your approach to leadership?

You will also enjoy:

This Woman’s Call to Leadership

© Natasha L. Robinson 2010

2 thoughts on “Leadership: “It’s Not About You”

  1. Well said, I would add that being a Christian leader is an awesome, unselfish responsibility. One has to be knowledgable, confident, and trust in the Lord. I am learning this on my path as a “new leader.”

  2. I am one chapter from the completion of the book entitiled “Sex 180″ by Chip Ingram and Tim Walker. This book provides practical advice for avoiding sex until marriage. It is aimed at teenagers. However, this is a great read for anyone who is dealing with sex outside of marriage.
    I am posting here because the chapter I am reading now seems to be a direct message to me from God. The following quote is appropriate for this blog, and once I read it I wanted to add it here, because leadership is always an open discussion.
    …”That’s not really who I am. I’m not really a leader….. In fact, everyone of us is called to lead at some point in our lives. It’s a matter of whether you’re willing to step up and answer the call….Sometimes you just have to do something.” (p. 196)
    “And weather you think you’re the perfect person for the job isn’t the issue. It’s a matter of who will hear the call and obey. Besides, God chooses unusual people to lead others.” (p. 197)
    Enough said, I hear you Lord, I will continue to follow my calling.
    Do you have any questions or doubts about your leadership role? Whether it is leading a youth group or leading a girl scout troop. Answer the call. I have learned from some very wise people that God will give you what is needed to lead, but you got to step out on faith and put in the work.
    Renee

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