Leadership Essentials – Never Stop Leading

by davidwatson on March 5, 2009

The single biggest doubt I have when leading is, “Am I going the right way?”  We have all spent time praying and planning to discover that the decision we made and/or the direction we took our followers was the wrong way or tangential to where we really wanted/needed to be.  When we are blazing trails, there will be times when we go the wrong way, make mistakes, and even, sometimes, sin.

Two of my coworkers, Pat Robertson and Walt Jones, did something incredible last summer.  They and two other family members, Shane Robertson and Kip Jones, made the 8,000+ mile journey from Maine to Alaska in a 46 foot boat through the Northwest Passage.  They were the first privately owned motor boat under 60 feet in length to ever make this passage unassisted by ice breakers.  To put this in perspective, more people have climbed to the top of Mount Everest than have made the Northwest Passage in any kind of boat.  (You can read more about this incredible adventure and see photos taken along the way at http://www.mvgeraldine.com/.)

One of the events described by this intrepid team was the making of their way through pack ice.  The lookout would direct the boat pilot, but sometimes they would hit a dead-end.  They would then try to retrace their route, but the sea currents and the wind had changed the configuration of the pack ice, and they would have to work their way to newly opened channels until they found their way to open sea and were able to continue their planned route.  The question in mind was always, “Are we going the right way?”  At times their navigation equipment did not function properly because they were so close to the magnetic North Pole.  They had no choice but to continue trying to find the right route to complete their journey.  To quit was to die.

As leaders, we can’t stop leading simply because we chose the wrong way or lose our way.  We have to confess our sins and /or mistakes, regroup the team, ask for input, determine the best direction to go with the information in hand, plan, retrain and resource the team, and start moving in the right direction.  We depend on God through prayer and the guidance of His Holy Spirit, but we don’t stop leading, we don’t stop listening, we don’t stop moving.

Leadership requires us to push through personal failure, personal pain, personal biases, and the failures of our people.  Leaders by influence have to have the patience to allow situations to mature, advise when goals are out of sync, and walk beside when necessary.  What we do is about the THE KINGDOM, not our personal empires.  The results are eternal, not temporal.  We will be judged by God, not man.

So, if you are going to be a leader – obedience, love, service, exemplary lives, courage, and adapting to change is a part of the package.  We also have to make tough decisions, and understand that we will make mistakes.  What separates great leaders from good leaders is an obedience to God, striving towards excellence, humility in service, commitment to a vision, determination to succeed, willingness to risk, ability to forgive, courage to change, desire to learn, recruiting teams to our weaknesses, capacity to strategize and implement plans, making more leaders, and never quitting.

I hope we all strive to be the best leaders we can be.  Never stop leading!

 

Blessings!

David Watson

Irving, TX

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Scott in Vegas March 6, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Thanks for the post – I have been thinking about this a lot. It seems that built into being obedient to God and the spiritual location that obedience keeps us in requires us also to be functioning with a large portion of “unknown”, which inherently requires more faith than confidence, more humility than skill. This seems cliche and romantic until you are the one in that position, standing by the Red Sea so to speak, wondering if you just made the biggest mistake of your life or if this was a divine setup that ends in God’s glory. The confounding part is that it doesn’t necessarily mean earthly success, and will most likely cost life or limb, maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally, possibly both! There is no answer to this except to keep leading, keep hearing, keep moving or something like that.

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2 John Kenneth King March 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

David,

Thanks for the post. I have shared it with the rest of our pastoral team here because there have been times lately when we’ve struggled to know if we were leading in the right ways. Hearing about Pat’s trip gives a pretty good mental image of how some of this spiritual territory has felt.

John

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