No Such Thing as an Insecure Leader

by Andy Wood on October 3, 2012

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, Hoarders, Leadership, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Principle of Freedom

One of the most famous child self-introductions in history took place in Cincinnati when Martha Taft was asked to introduce herself to her classmates.  She stood and said, “My name is Martha Bowers Taft. My great-grandfather was President of the United States. My grandfather was a United States senator. My daddy is ambassador to Ireland. And I am a Brownie.”

Love it, love it, love it!  What Martha may or may not have known at the time was that she was demonstrating leadership in the making.  With a simple statement she was saying, “I know who I am and where I came from.”  She was wonderfully free to be herself.  And that’s part of the stuff of ongoing leadership.

Nothing to prove.  Nothing to hide.  No one to manipulate.  No one to pretend to be, other than yourself.

Compare that to another group of so-called leaders who were anything-but.  They never lowered themselves to lift one finger to help somebody in need.  Everything they did was for attention.  They basked in the attention of being “all-that” at public functions.  They insisted on being called by their respectful titles in public.

Important?  Yes… every time they looked in a mirror.

Leaders?  Hardly.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m not describing your least favorite political candidate.  That description was the one that Jesus hung on the power grabbers of His day, the scribes and Pharisees.

Leadership and Identity

John’s gospel makes a profoundly simple statement about Jesus.  It says simply that “Jesus knew he had come from God.”  As a result of that knowledge, during  a private dinner with His disciples, with no critics watching or cameras rolling, He got up and washed their filthy feet (John 13:1-5).

Does that not strike you as odd?

People on missions from God do preachy things.  Miraculous things.  Public things that declare, “I’m on a mission from God!”

Jesus?  Sure, He did some of that.  But when He wanted those closest to Him to know that He knew who He was, He served them in the basest of ways.

Identity for Christ was a convergence of four things:

  • Mission – He knew why He was sent.
  • Relationship – He knew who sent Him.
  • Communication – He revealed the heart of his Father, and
  • Destiny – He knew where He was headed, as rightful heir to all things.

The same could be said for anyone who leads other people, formally or informally.  Leaders

  • Have a clear sense of mission.
  • Are faithful to those who placed them in leadership in the first place.
  • Communicate clearly out of a sense of mission and relationship.
  • Know where they are headed (vision), and where they are influencing others to follow.

Leadership and Authenticity

Throughout the demonstration of His identity, Jesus displayed a confident, peaceful awareness of who He was, who sent Him, what His purpose was, and where He was going. Simply put, He had everything to reveal, but nothing to prove. He was gloriously free to be Himself and not a copycat of the local religious or political scene.

That’s leadership.

Jesus didn’t need to wash the disciples’ feet. He didn’t need to serve. He served because His followers had a need. His moment of truth was whether Jesus would demonstrate confidence enough in who He was to serve boldly, or whether He needed the disciples to somehow affirm his role and identity.

Insecurity is Another Story

Contrast that model of leadership with people in places of authority who are insecure.  They display a felt need to cling to their positions and power as if it were their only lifeline. They stay in campaign mode or feel a compulsive need to issue relentless orders just to prove who’s the boss.

Insecure bosses are intoxicated by what one author calls “celebrity syndrome” or “the pedestal syndrome.”  They find their security in being the center of attention and perpetuating their grip on power, using whatever means they deem necessary to achieve numerical and material success.

The most insidious form of this is somebody in a church, school, or Christian ministry who says he has a vision from God, then treats his minions as pawns whose only assignment is to “catch the vision” and blindly follow.  Not to do so, of course, is to disobey God.

Really?

And you call that leadership?  I call it manipulation and power mongering.  It’s a little boy in a man’s body, playing dress-up.

Confidence in the Mirror

The higher your place of authority, the more confident you must be in your personal sense of purpose, relationships, communication, and vision in order to serve utterly. Position seekers, image manipulators, and disciples jockeying for places at the head of the table need not apply.

Back to that footwashing episode:  If you know you’ve come from God and would soon return to Him, what difference does it make whether social customs are satisfied?  Really – who cares about dirty feet when they’re about to vacate the planet?

Only the One who was secure enough in his identity to attend to the lowest needs of his team.

At any given time, any leader is capable of seeing himself or herself with peaceful confidence that serves – or self-centered insecurity that seeks to hoard power regardless of the cost.

Where do you fit on that spectrum?

One thing is certain.  If you’re one of those who, driven by pride and fear of losing control, seeks to protect your position at all costs, you may still be the boss…

But you’ve ceased to be a leader.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando October 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

As the old adage goes – Truer words were never spoken. I wish more people would realize that true leadership is servant leadership. And, I found this very timely in light of the presidential debate tonight . . .
We’ll see who the leader really is . . .
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post .."Unless the LORD Builds the House . . ."

Fanatics coupon May 23, 2017 at 9:03 am

I really liked those articles. The love of animal which I want pass more time with them. Not rushing enjoying everything I am doing. Do more running, swimming. Pass more time in the nature.

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