Effective leadership requires right thinking. In order to lead others well, myths about the nature of leadership itself must be exposed and addressed.
Few myths disable our leadership more decisively than…
The Position Myth: My leadership is defined entirely by the position I hold.
Generally speaking, I have never seen position suddenly transform a leaders ability or character. Sure, the weight of responsibility that positions of leadership bring has certain refining qualities in the life of a leader. This is indisputable. The position myth tends to whisper a lie into the ears of a leader that sounds a lot like: Position will make you the leader you know you aren’t right now. It won’t. It can’t. The truth is: position exposes a leaders weaknesses, inabilities, and character deficiencies, usually in a very public setting.
Leadership Principle: Who you are as a follower is who you’ll be as a leader.
Just as breathing is difficult at higher altitudes, lofty positions of power create environments that are hard to survive in. It is no coincidence that Satan took Jesus to a “high place” where all the Kingdoms of the world could be seen when he offered Him an exchange of worship for worldly power. Positional power can be intoxicating and it is at its most dangerous when it becomes our solitary pursuit. If a position is your passion, you’ll probably hurt those you lead when you attain it.
How do we fight this pull? How do we expose the position myth in our own hearts and leadership?
Embrace calling over a position.
Position cannot inspire because positions exist to frame responsibility and define authority. Calling, on the other hand, is rooted in purpose. Obviously, we need positions in order to have an orderly and sustainable society, organization, church etc. There is an inherent value in assigned responsibility. The issue is not the existence of “positional leadership”, the issue arises when we see positions are the end and not the means of God-honoring leadership.
Positions describe what we do. Calling describes why we do what we do.
Take a position away and the calling remains. Take a calling away and position is meaningless.