Life has more ironies than anyone cares to admit. Many are wrapped up in the question of what comes first. Do you design solutions in response to needs or in anticipation of opportunities? Is the answer found in lagging feedback or in the conclusions drawn out of pre-indicators? Is popularity the factor in leadership or merely something that is easy to focus on?
The usual answer to each question is to use what the past indicates. Design answers to yesterday’s questions and problems; at least one equation will be solved even if it not the one that we face today or tomorrow. Judge success on results that occurred in the past even if the cycle of change has not been given the full light of day; the measures can be verified. Good leaders are popular; are they not?
Real leadership offers hope, it looks to tomorrow, and it worries about change. Everything anticipates something that we do not have today and did not find yesterday. Rarely does one in this position judge their success by popularity; however reflective thought does provide a feedback mechanism that cannot and shout not be ignored. What happens when people you respect, who are on journeys that give confidence to others, express their confidence? As one who is in a leadership role, I take courage from this. “When good people run things, everyone is glad, but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.” (Proverbs 29.2)
Leadership isn’t about people liking you or always having fun. It is about helping individuals discover something that they are and can be something far greater than they are. It is about shining light on a path that is clear only to a few. It is about walking, working, and living with those around you. It is about who you and I are, even if we don’t know it.
There are those who believe that they are not in leadership rolls. To these I offer the gift of God’s compassion, mercy, and acceptance. They are gifts that need sharing, paths that need lighting – opportunities for all.