Leadership is an Art
Max DePree in his classic work titled, “Leadership is an Art” had the following thoughts regarding a basic definition of leadership.
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.
“Leaders don’t inflict pain, they bear pain.
“The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential?
“Leaders are also responsible for future leadership. They need to identify, develop, and nurture future leaders.
“Leaders owe people space, space in the sense of freedom. Freedom in the sense of enabling our gifts to be exercised. We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.
“Another way to think about what leaders owe is to ask this question: What is it, without which this institution would not be what it is? Leaders are obligated to provide and maintain momentum. Leadership comes with a lot of debts to the future.
“Leaders are responsible for effectiveness. Much has been written about effectiveness—some of the best of it by Peter Drucker. He has such a great ability to simplify concepts. One of the things he tells us is that efficiency is doing the thing right, but effectiveness is doing the right thing.
“To be a leader means, especially, having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permit leaders to lead.”
Leadership is an art to be developed over time. It is attention to development of ourselves, seeking to be the best leader we can be. And the amazing thing is that the Lord allows us to ‘practice’ on His people. This should serve as a good reminder that we are not that important in the total equation.