Sep 22, 2011

Leadership: The Difference Between Leading People to Life and Leading People to Death

Tom Landry, the late great coach of the Dallas Cowboys said, "Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve."

Look at that phrase. There's a couple of very important things to see.
  • First, leaders get people to do what they don't want to do. That's why leaders are needed. If everyone did only what they wanted to do, we would never change, and we would never corporately change for the better.
  • The second part is even more important. Leaders get people to do what they don't want to do, in order to help them achieve what they want to achieve.
This is what the Bible calls spurring or provoking one another to good deeds.

Notice that the Bible did not say spear each other to death. 

All too often, a leader so bent on vision that he sees people as tools to accomplish his vision can spear and provoke their people to burnout, disillusionment, and eventual death.

What is the primary difference between spurring and provoking others to do and become what they want to become versus spearing people to death?


The difference has everything to do with movement.

You see, if the leader and the people have a shared vision and are moving toward that common destination, then the leader's promptings, urgings, encouragements spur people to ever greater accomplishments.

However, if the vision of the future is not a shared vision, but the leader's vision, then the leader's promptings, urgings, and encouragements end up spearing people who are not willing or able to move. 

As long as the leader and the people are moving in the same direction, the promptings, urgings, and encouragements move people along particularly when they don't feel like it, or when the vision for the common future becomes clouded with the business of life, or when people need a little push.

But if the people are not willing nor capable of moving, the leaders promptings and spurring will end up spearing people.

So, leaders. When you look at the people you are leading, do you see yourself as a partner in helping people realize their dreams and aspirations? Or, when you look at the people you are leading, do you see people as tools to be used to accomplish your dreams and aspirations?

For your and your people's sake, you better be crystal clear. Because one leads to life and the other to death.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"So, leaders. When you look at the people you are leading, do you see yourself as a partner in helping people realize their dreams and aspirations?" How does a leader lead when many of those "dreams & aspirations" are of the world and not the kingdom?

James Kim said...

That's a fantastic observation. I can't speak for those who are in a non-church leadership setting, but for those of us in the church leadership arena, it's never just helping people accomplish their personal dreams, but always partnering with people to accomplish God's dreams for all of us.

As you observed, those are very different things.

I should have been clearer in my post that we're not called to help people accomplish personal dreams but God's plan and purpose.

Thanks!

James <><