“The Worst Thing You Can Say About a Leader is…”

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Recently, I started a new discipleship cohort with a handful of leaders from my church. The book we are currently using to guide our discussion is one of the first leadership books I ever read: Jesus on Leadership by Gene Wilkes. This book had a profound impact on me as a young leader. On Tuesday morning’s, our cohort works our way slowly through this book and discusses how we can apply these biblical truths in our daily leadership. Early in the book we ran across this passage that struck up lots of great conversation:

“The worst thing you can say about a leader is that on the day he left, the organization collapsed. When that happens, it means the so-called leader had sucked the place dry. He hasn’t built something that would last with or without him. He may have been an effective operator, but he has not created a vision.”

What a sobering thought. Ultimately the long-term effectiveness of a leader is not determined by what they did while in a position of influence but by what state they left the organization when their time came to an end. This long-range mindset greatly influences how we lead in the present. Typically short-sighted leaders are self-focused leaders.  Are we taking the time to invest in others? Are we subconsciously or intentionally building a team that revolves around our own giftings and personality?

The best leaders understand that while they may never get another “promotion”, they will one day be demoted. Leadership is a temporary stewardship with an unknown expiration date. Great leaders embrace the temporary nature of leadership and use their leadership to serve and empower others.

What kind of team will you leave behind?

Chad Williams

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