It’s a source of influence. It’s a source of inspiration. It’s a spiritual gift. It can be used vocationally.
And it can also teach us… a lot.
Leadership is something I am very passionate about– and not only in a Biblical sense. My minor in college was leadership studies and I have always enjoyed working alongside self-less, heart-driven leaders.
Before I get too far into it, I ask that you open your mind to the leadership perspective– most people have a sliver of leadership in them somewhere… it doesn’t have to be leading a church or a huge corporation. It can be fulfilling the role as a parent to your children leading them to Christ or simply being a subtle witness at the coffee shop. On that note…
Leadership is a sticky topic… in more ways than one. Not only do the positive (or negative) leaders in our life have the ability to influence us for a season or lifetime (aka, it really “sticks” with us) but sometimes the hard leadership situations such as conflict or compromise of integrity put us in a “sticky” position.
So, as I was pondering this post while feeding baby girl at 0430 one morning, here’s an interesting analogy that God placed on my heart regarding the different kinds of leaders… The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly.
Sticky Factor: “The Bumper Sticker”
Description: Good leaders in life are like bumper stickers. They are clever. Potentially creative. Insightful. Sometimes heartfelt, sometimes humorous. And they stick with you for a long, long time. Have you ever tried to remove a bumper sticker from your car (or any other surface) after it has been stuck for any amount of time? Odds are that you won’t be able to remove it in one piece and little remnants or residue will remain afterward. AKA the lessons and influence from the good “bumper sticker” leaders have the potential to influence us for life in a very productive way.
In real life: These leaders are going to be the ones that you still turn to for questions. They might be a mentor and a source of encouragement, even after your seasons of life have led you in a new direction. These bumper sticker leaders are precious- so treasure them!
Verse: “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” ~2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
Sticky Factor: “Ticky Tack” (or is it “Sticky Tack?”)
Description: Remember Ticky Tack, that sorta sticky stuff that was found in elementary classrooms in the 90′s? (Do they even still make that stuff?) It was used to hang up posters or paper decorations around the room… and for some reason, we, as young uns, thought it was cool to collect. (I remember having a big ol’ grody ball of it in my middle school locker. Why? I have no idea.) But ticky tack is kind of like the not-so-awesome leaders… they do their job-ish. Sometimes. And often not very well. It can get messy and after a while, their gunk starts to build up and they are less effective. Their followers start to pull away. Their longevity isn’t stellar.
In real life: It’s kind of hard to define “bad” leader (and really, I don’t enjoy calling anyone that.) But the fact is we have probably all been around them… You know the folks who might be in a leadership role for the wrong reason (to self-promote instead of serve) and just don’t quite have the capabilities and skills (or heart!) for the position. So what do we do? We can first support them by submitting to their leadership (even if we don’t quite agree with their methods), pray for them, and if the opportunity arises, gently and lovingly offer our encouragement and counsel to them. Who knows– you might be able to help then transition from a ticky tack leader to a bumper sticker one!
Verse: “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” ~Romans 13:5 NIV
The Downright Ugly
Sticky Factor: “The Hot Glue Gun”
Description: The Hot Glue Gun leader… They are good in theory, meant to hold things together, but really when their leadership skills aren’t used correctly end up being a huge mess. They are effective in very few situations… They might go from hot to cold really fast and if all things don’t line up perfectly, their mission fails and their team won’t stick together. (You know how hot glue cools quickly then is hard and essentially useless. Yeah, same thing.) Sometimes they aren’t very flexible and when change is thrust upon them, they leave behind a crusty, spiderwebby-mess. Also, if you don’t watch you… you will get burned. And sometimes, if that burn is bad enough– it will leave a scar.
In real life: Oh the “ugly” leader. It hurts my heart that there is even a category for this one, but again, we know it is true and my Beloved and I have been under the authority of these individuals in different seasons of life. Hot glue gun leaders are ones who are negative, toxic, selfish, lack integrity, and sometimes even downright hateful. So what are we supposed to do in this situation? PRAY. And pray HARD. Not only for ourselves– but for them. (Gives praying for your enemies and those who persecute you a whole new meaning, huh?) Hold firm to your values, specifically those rooted in Christ. (After all, His opinion is the one that ultimately matters.) Finally, just like the other two types of “sticky” leaders… we can learn from them. My beloved husband reminds me that we can sometimes learn just as much about leadership in the form of what NOT to do from yucky leaders who put us in not-so-great sticky situations as we can from great bumper sticker leaders.
Verse: “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” ~Proverbs 10:9 NIV
What type of leadership experience have you had? What steps can we take to make sure that we are “The Bumper Sticker” leaders? What character traits do you think make a great leader?
Friends, I pray this not only offers a unique perspective to leadership (I am SUCH a sucker for analogies!) but also encourages us to seek Him for guidance to be the leader He has called us to be.
No matter what leadership situation or position you find your self in… STICK with Christ. THAT’S the perfect kind of sticky leadership.
Stuck on Him,