The seventh instalment of leadership myth-busting and a chance to reflect on pre-Covid practices that were standard fare for organisational leaders but – in hindsight – were, frankly, quite weird…
“People mean problems…”
To my shame, this is a phrase I have used in the past. And it seems like a fact of leadership… the more people we have around us, the more problems we can end up dealing with.
But is it a myth of leadership???
Guest post from Pete Portal:
I think I know what people are alluding to when they say that because we live in Manenberg, we are ‘ministering on the front line’. I think I know what they mean. We have had two bullets fly through our office windows during gang fights, dear friends and family have been killed, our houses have been broken into by those we have been trying to serve, we’ve seen miraculous financial provision come in as we’ve prayed for salaries or emergency rehab funds, we’ve watched friends come painlessly off drugs through the power of the Holy Spirit, and felt the hope drain out of us as others crash and burn for the umpteenth time, and we’re all committed to living among the poor and marginalised.
But here’s my issue with the F word – isn’t this just the normal Christian life?
I’ve now been in paid Christian work for over 20 years. Initially I worked in two churches as a ‘youth pastor’ but have since been leading Missional organisations (registered as Christian non-profit organisations). I have, therefore, been employed in what is commonly called ‘full-time ministry’. Yet, the longer I’ve been doing what I do, the more I’ve come to realise the dangers of the distinction between those in ‘ministry’ and all other classifications of Christians…
‘My goal is to work myself out of a job.’
I’ve heard the statement many times. I’ve probably said it myself. I don’t think anyone says it with anything other than well-intentioned motives. However, is it factual… or is it a myth?
For too long, leaders have been told that revealing weaknesses leaves us open to being exploited and manipulated. I believe this is a leadership myth that desperately needs to be busted.
The mantra goes something like: ‘If you don’t have the confidence to follow through on a decision, then fake it till you make it.’ In other words, deceive your followers into thinking that you don’t have doubts, that you are somehow impenetrable in your conclusions, and, therefore, you are devoid of weaknesses.
This is the first in a series of posts where I want to do some leadership myth-busting. I believe there are certain myths about leadership that have become accepted as things that simply go with the turf of being a leader in the 21st century. In particular, when these myths are examined against Scripture and the example of Jesus (our ultimate standard in Grab a Towel), then they become busted as fabrications that can prevent leaders from fulfilling their God-given potential as leaders.