“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve got some “good news” and I’ve got some “bad news”: you are a leader! Leadership is influence. Eventually those who are influencers will be publically recognized and given a formal leadership position. This new leadership “platform” can either be rewarding or overwhelming. A lot depends on the attitude of the leader, but the attitude of the team also comes into play. The new leader can either be readily received or challenged by those who might feel jealous.
Positional leadership is the foundation for growing leadership potential. Unfortunately, some leaders see their leadership position as a platform that brings power and authority. When someone is given a leadership position, it can either be “good news” or “bad news” for everyone involved. King Saul is a great example of a leader who was given a position but never reached the full potential it afforded him.
When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said, “That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.” (1Samuel 9:17 NLT)
Notice the change that took place just a few years later because Saul abused his position and failed to grow as a leader:
Now the LORD said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” (1 Samuel 16:1 NLT)
At first, Saul had amazing success and scored numerous victories for his people. His success however went to his head. He became an arrogant positional leader who sought advice from no one. He also became insecure and felt threatened by anyone who might be a stronger leader or better than him. In order to be truly successful, leaders must always remain humble and teachable. Successful leaders always give “wins” to their team and redirect the credit to others.
Success is usually a lousy teacher because we often fail to learn lessons from success. On the other hand, we tend to learn valuable lessons from failure because, in failure, our humility prepares us to reflect and seek council. We typically learn more from failure than success. Too much success without proper reflection can bring about sloppy leadership. To make the most of your leadership position, always take time to reflect on how you can grow and become more effective as a leader.
Whether in failure or success, good leaders are learners always looking for a lesson that will help them grow. Those who follow you will respect your teachable spirit and be more open to reflection and evaluation of their own performance. Set a good example today so your position as a leader is seen as “good news” by those who follow you.