What makes a leader worth following?
Massive Instagram following
Thousands of Facebook friends
New York Time's Bestselling author
Prominent pastor of a large church
Six-digit annual income
Beautiful home in the suburbs
Accomplishments, results, and success will never make a leader worth following! We can learn from those ahead of us. It is beneficial for us to do so. But, don't become enamored by the success of others. Stop buying into the lie that leaders worth following must have impressive results.
One of my best examples comes from the church world. If you're not a church person, bear with me through the example and I will get to the leadership principle.
Pastors are the leaders of the churches they serve. Their job is to shepherd, lead, and guide the people of the church and serve the community around them. Churches are judged based on the number of people attending weekend services. Many think that the larger the crowd, the more "successful" the pastor is. If a pastor is "successful," they must be worth following. The larger the church attendance, the more respect and greater following a pastor has.
Can you think of someone you respect? Would you follow their leadership despite their outward successes or failures? I hope so. Why is that? A leader worth following is one with humility and conviction. Ambition and wisdom. Passion and gentleness. Strength and caution. Independence and accountability.
A leader worth following understands HOW you treat people and HOW you conduct business matters most!
HOW you lead is always relevant. The ends, the results, cannot justify the means! Can you think of someone considered successful you would never allow to lead you? We have all met a successful, well-known person who was a jerk or self-absorbed. While this person still has value and perspective to add, they are not worth following. We can learn from them, ask questions of them, but refuse to put them in a place of leadership or influence in our lives.
For me, my ambition and drive for ministry in the church came from a deep, broken place in my heart. I was trying to prove I am somebody because deep down I felt like a nobody. I felt like someone else's leftovers. I felt my perspective and voice didn't matter to anyone else. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid hard feelings in life. We can only choose to ignore or grow through them.
Stop trying to prove you're somebody because you feel like nobody.
Ambition rooted in deep personal woundedness will lead to unhealthy behaviors and patterns. Over time, people enjoy being around you less and less. When our drive and ambition become unhealthy, everyone else can see it except us. Others see our ambition as a mask or protective mechanism to keep others from getting too close. This is why we need to invite accountability into our lives. Others will see our blind spots long before we do!
Who are the people holding you accountable?
Who do you allow to tell you what you don't want to hear?
We will never outgrow our character issues. They will catch up with us! Proverbs 10:9 puts it this way,
"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out."