If it wasn’t for people . . . leaders wouldn’t have to run so fast

Have you “the leader” ever heard the expression, “The speed of the organization is determined by the speed of the boss.” I have found that this is true no matter whether in a ministry, a corporation or in the military.  At Fort Benning, Georgia, the home of the Army Infantry Center, there is a statue of a soldier with an inscription at its base that says, “Follow Me.” This depicts a young Second Lieutenant Platoon Leader leading his soldiers into battle—with speed and determination. Like the Second Lieutenant, you “the leader” set the pace of the organization for others to follow.  If an organization’s leader sits back and rests too self-indulgently, he or she will not be leading at all, but will only be going for a walk in the park with no one following.  Things do not happen without the motivation and vision of the leader.  But then comes the question, “How do you keep up the pace; how you do ‘the leader’ keep from taking on the work of others and becoming exhausted?”

I’ve said many times that the basics of exercising leadership is making other people responsible for the work at hand.  So, when does the speed of you “the leader” turn into a situation where you take on more and more of the work as you try to set the pace for the organization?  You “the leader” need to know because if you always go at breakneck speed and tend to take up the work of others in your quest for action, eventually you “the leader” will fail if for no other reasons than pure exhaustion and worry over every little detail.  And, running fast does not mean running stupid.  It means applying wisdom to your task of exercising leadership and doing the right things the wise way and not just doing large amounts of work for work’s sake.

The right things for you “the leader” are doing those tasks that only the lead pastor, the CEO, or the commander can do.  That means working the seams with other leaders, it means making the critical visit to seal the deal on a big contract, it means you the subordinate commander working with the leaders of adjacent units to fine-tune actions that support the commander’s intent in an operation.  It means that you the lead pastor must make the personal visit to a prospective donor trying to find a way to support your church’s building project.

There are other considerations for you ‘the leader” when it comes to establishing the speed of the organization.  Most importantly are the ramifications your actions might have in influencing the lives of others.  There are limits to work, no matter how intense the competition, that is, unless you are in combat in the fight for your life and the lives of those warriors depending upon you.  But for most of us, we need to know when to call an end to the day, when to rest, when to care for family and relationships, and when refresh your spirit and “sharpen the saw” so you can again return to work wisely at a pace that motivates others to follow you and do their best for all aspects of their lives.  If you set the example with balance in your life, those that follow will do likewise.

In my mind, the balance in the life of you “the leader” can only be obtained through a large dose of wisdom.  But then, “From whence does your wisdom come?”

Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom . . .”  To fear God means to follow His precepts which implies that you know Him, THE ONE. Knowing Jesus, there is no better thing. To know Him, to read His Word, and to seek Him out in prayer as you undertake difficult decisions for you and your organization, are the beginning of true understanding and wisdom.  There you will find, the right actions, the right priorities, and the right understanding of when, where, and how fast you need to move your organization.  You will also find the Lord’s priorities for your life.  Seek Him for wisdom, He wants you to know Him first and then to succeed in all your endeavors as you follow Him.  There is no better thing.