Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Foolish Leadership

It was Lorne Sanny who said, “Leaders bring vision, faith, and courage to coordinated effort.” There is a fine line between faith and foolishness and the consequences for one’s leadership can be devastating.

Leading out of foolishness has several origins. Foolish leaders lead out of presumption. They assume that since it worked before then it will work now. Or they assume that because God was with us in a similar endeavor before, then surely He will be with us in this current situation.

Foolish leadership plans and acts according to what is seen instead of what is unseen. We fix our eyes on the visible instead of trusting in the invisible God to guide and direct our leadership (see 2 Cor. 4:18). We plan according to known resources instead of seeking God’s will for us and then trusting Him to provide the resources needed to accomplish what He is asking us to do.

Foolish strategic plans do not have any faith goals or “stretch” that will require the hand of God in order to be accomplished. They look at needs and apply people to fill jobs instead of seeking to align people to best fit opportunities according to their God-given design.

Foolish leaders trust in themselves too much and want to control the outcomes of their leadership. Now control again is not bad in and of itself. But we must answer the question why do we want control. Is it to insure the best we can be for Jesus or is it so that I can insure that I look good to others or perhaps am on some kind of power trip and just want to “micro-manage” others.

Foolish leaders seek the approval of man. They want to be well thought of and liked by others. They do what is expedient for their career moves and cultivate relationships that will pay back dividends for their future.

Leaders who lead from faith can do many of the same things that a foolish leader does, so when viewed superficially they may seem similar. Leaders of faith lead out of presumption, but their presumption is that unless God intervenes and blessing then all of their leadership is of naught. They place themselves in dependent relationship to God as they lead, knowing how absolutely essential He is to their ability to lead well.

Leaders of faith also plan, but their strategies are held in an open hand letting God direct and guide them as He see fit. They plan according to faith, seeking to see what God sees for them in the time horizon they are planning for. They are not limited by what they have, for they trust Him to provide all that they need to finish the work He assigns.

Leaders of faith also want to have some control over outcomes, but this arises from a sense of stewardship of their leadership responsibility before God. They don’t micro-manage others out of a need for power or ego, but rather they set others up for success and trust them to accomplish what they have agreed to.

Finally, leaders of faith seek the approval of God, not man. Their reputation is entrusted to Him who placed them into their leadership role. Relationships are about what can be accomplished together for the glory of God, not what I can personally gain from them.

Foolish leadership or faith leadership…which one best describes yours?

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