Leadership in the new decade will require ramped-up character and discerning--walking in maturity of all things spiritual and natural. I call this the new 2010 Leadership. This leadership requires an ability to influence people who may not be the most talented or even the most committed followers. While talent and commitment are praiseworthy assets, don’t automatically discard people who seem to be marginal to your organization.
Many years ago I was thrust into a leadership position at the age of 20. I had been in the U.S. Army about a year when I was given the responsibility to serve as a ‘buck sergeant’ for a squad of 4 men. Now, leading 4 guys should not be that tough and could offer a good learning experience for future leadership opportunity, right?? However, those 4 guys included an alcoholic, a heroin addict, and a heavy hash smoker.
Our mission, in what is now Germany, was to be the first line of defense if the former USSR decided to over run Western Europe. We operated an armored vehicle armed with a radar controlled 20mm gun that fired up to 3000 rounds per minute at an enemy’s slow flying aircraft or ground troops.
Although not yet a Christian, my parental upbringing had instilled some character and common sense into me, causing me to realize that my squad could be in a big mess if we went to war. So, all I asked of those young men was; “know your job, obey orders, and stay sober when on ‘alert’ status. Do that and I’ll stay out of your off-duty life.” Those young guys responded admirably, and, although the heroin addict was carted off to rehab against his will, the rest served well and were actually combat ready when our unit was called to ‘alert’. We could actually fight!
I say all that, not to endorse those men’s lifestyle choices, but to show that even screwed up people making wrong choices can and will submit to leadership. As Christian leaders, we have more tools, alternatives, and a greater cause to lead even marginal followers. Plus, we have the Holy Spirit working in their lives and in our lives toward a Kingdom cause.