1. Leadership Is Child’s Play: Power and Love

1. Leadership Is Child’s Play: Power and Love

1. Leadership Is Child’s Play: Power and Love.

“King Melchior: And the riddle that torments the world is this: Shall Power and Love dwell together at last, when the promised kingdom comes?”  (Dorothy Sayers, Man Born To Be King).

Let’s define our terms first… A godly leader is one who combines power and love in a spirit of merriment and meekness. At the basic level, a leader is anyone who has influence. That influence could be over one person or over a million people. The leader could be a good influence or a bad influence. The leader could have a moral purpose or an immoral purpose. The leader could be treating others with kindness or unkindness. For the effective leader, though, the ends don’t justify the means. The process used in fulfilling the purpose is just as important as the end product. It matters how people are treated on the way to accomplishing the task. The methods used to succeed are just as vital as the ultimate success. The means to the end is just as crucial as the end itself.

There are an endless variety of contexts for leadership: Classroom; Military; Political; Pastoral; Corporate; Nonprofit. Leadership of the home. Leadership of the small business. So many leadership styles depend on the context. And leadership looks different no matter the context, because of the unique personality of the leader. No matter the context or the personality, an effective leader provides the influence necessary to fulfill its purpose morally, competently, and humanely. Some fundamentals of godly leadership include:

  1. Kindness is crucial, not just to manipulate people to do what you want them to do. Kindness is the face of leadership, the major quality of any interaction between the leader and those who are led;
  2. Prayerful intercession is an ongoing part of the leader’s ministry. Bringing the others to God effectively welcomes Him to the process of leadership. This unseen ministry will end up being more productive.
  3. Humbly holding others accountable with kindness and  honesty is vital to the leader’s efforts; speaking the truth with love and respect; holding people accountable without being authoritarian.
  4. Able to be both task-oriented and people-centered; leaders don’t treat others like dehumanized robots or mere worker bees, but as people who are made in the sacred image of God.
  5. Manages a crisis reasonably and creatively, with integrity and objectivity; able to lean on the trust that has been developed during the non-crisis times.
  6. Builds up the people under the care of the leader, developing their character and skill level; each person is better for having been working for the leader.
  7. Discovers the gifts and natural skills of each person, so each is contributing in a role that is life-giving and self-motivating; delegates to others freely with those gifts in mind.
  8. Holds him/herself accountable to the same standards expected of everyone else; the leader is not above what is expected of the others.
  9. Able to persuade others to join in the efforts through logic and inspiration, not coercion; persuasion often happens through example and being a role model as well through convincing argument.
  10. Able to help establish a positive work culture, an optimistic, can-do environment, a pleasant climate, and an overall atmosphere conducive to a motivated work ethic.
  11. Has the courage and good sense to be helpful in conflict resolution when conflicts occur; conflict is inevitable, so peace-making is crucial in any team-building effort.
  12. Able to be the keeper of the vision, the one who keeps reminding others of the goal, the purpose, the mission, and the “why’ of what they are doing.
  13. Motivates others by helping them use their gifts, and allowing each person to own some responsibility in their part in the process; all people need to know they are not just a cog in a wheel, but are vital to the mission.
  14. Able to serve as a competent problem-solver, one who considers all sides of an issue or problem, and has the courage to make a reasonable decision that will be helpful.

I will try to unpack the nature of Christ-centered leadership in the following three sections: (1.) On Merriment as the Spirit of Leadership; (2.) On Meekness as the Essence of Power; and (3.) On Service as the Purpose of Power.