Saturday, September 22, 2007

Word of the Week: Leadership

So this was the word that floated to the top of my consciousness over the last week or two, both spoken and unspoken.

First, these alternate leadership models as described in a recent message: servant leadership - that of an inverted pyramid, where the leadership leads by serving and supporting others. (Sounds like a carpenter-turned-rabbi I read about once). And another interesting idea, that of a sideways pyramid, where the leadership leads by forging ahead into previously unknown territory. Most of my experience with leadership has been the top-down model, where the leadership is somewhat removed from those who follow. I've been blessed to see some servant-leadership models in action of late. Lucky for me, one example has been my boss who just rolled up her sleeves and grabbed some work off my pile today, since we're once again shorthanded in our department.

Another thought: a position does not necessarily indicate leadership. Haven't we all had managers who, in their failure to convey vision and goals, never took us anywhere? Where we never grew as a person while we worked for them, or perhaps we even backpedaled a bit? Sad to say, I think I've been that kind of manager in the past. I had a job to do and those who worked for me were simply a means to get my job done. I can't be too hard on myself though, since I was barely out of college and quite immature myself and every semester I had to train a new crew. I wish I could say it was a learning experience but the gist of what I learned was that I'm really not the management type! That said, not everyone is called to lead others, but are we not all called to serve one another?

Third idea: Leadership is not something to be grasped at. I thought this post entitled "Leading by Stepping Aside" really hit the nail on the head. So many times we as women think we have to do it all. And then we complain when we feel burned out. Go figure! I found this applicable as I will need to hand over some accounts to other customer service reps in the near future. My tendency is to think it's just easier to do it myself but helping someone else step in and get up to speed quickly will benefit us all in the long run.

Lastly, unless you're in their shoes, it's really difficult to understand the positions leaders find themselves in. Plenty of people stop by my cubicle last week to give their opinion on how the open position should be filled. I happen to know (because I happen to be good friends with my boss, from her pre-boss days) there's much more involved than just plugging a person into the empty chair. Anyways, my impression is that those with leadership responsibilities need our prayers, more than we probably realize. I wonder if anyone ever prayed for Jesus as he walked this earth?

So those are my rambling thoughts for the week: serving others and praying for those who serve others in a leadership capacity.