One of the major features of this blog will be reflections on the issue of leadership. Many think this is a simple concept, those who are in authority lead. Yet, in reality many of us are called to leadership in ways beyond that of which our "authority" would allow. In today's post modern world in which hierarchy is always challenged, claims of authority require constant proving, and leadership is all the more required and requires more clarity. When is a leader accomplishing there task? When are they failing?
We see this in our current national political debate. The current national leadership led by President Obama, has pushed through an ambitious agenda and achieved much of that agenda, yet is under considerable fire. Why is this? When they have done much of what they said they would do. Is it simply a result of a national economy in crisis, with unemployment at 10% or more? A national economy which logically began its decline long before President Obama took office in January of 2009. Why is there such a backlash? Well obviously we have an issue of leadership. His leadership is being questioned based on a quantitative result he may or may not have much to do with. Or perhaps he oversold his potential, maybe the nation wasn't ready for his agenda, even though in November 2008 they seemed to be. Did he get too far out in front of his community?
This is the reality of leadership. On Sunday, Donovan McNabb will be quarterbacking the Washington Redskins against his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles, quarterbacked by his former understudy, Michael Vick (who has his own demons to deal with). What kind of leadership will each individual deliver? In the face of a hostile crowd, who just 12 months ago cheered him, how will McNabb respond? Ultimately, what is the measuring stick by which we will measure their results. The good news for them, is that in the NFL there is a result in 3.5 hours. There is a win and a loss. The NFL offers leadership a quick response, instant feedback. In national, community or church leadership, the results are much more fluid, less concrete and longer in term. How do you lead, when the results are not 3.5 hours in coming?
Leadership is a challenging and fluid role. Coaches come and go, Presidents come and go, Pastors come and go...results typically come from a vision of leadership that begins to be carried out. Not only by the leader, but by the people being led. As we are thinking, it seems that being a successful leader in many ways means never getting to far out in front of the people being led, yet never allowing them to hold you back from bold decisions. How does one decide? Is it an exclusive choice? To be practical or visionary? Is it that simple of a choice? In a world in which results are expected on an NFL time frame, how do you decide?
That is something on which to pray...