An important rule of leadership “Don’t allow the patient to prescribe the medicine.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Leadership by Example
General Eisenhower would demonstrate the art of leadership with a simple piece of string. He’d put it on a table and say: “Pull it and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it and it will go nowhere at all. It’s just that way when it comes to leading people. They need to follow a person who is leading by example.”
At another time he said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head-that’s assault, not leadership.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Thomas Monaghan is founder,
president, and chief executive officer of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. From 1970 to
1985, Domino’s grew from a small debt-ridden chain to the second largest pizza
When asked to account for the phenomenal growth of the company, Monaghan explained, “I programmed everything for growth.” And how did he plan for growth? “Every day we develop people-the key to growth is developing people.”
Not special cheese, not a tasty crust, not fast delivery schedules, but people! People are the key to all effective leadership. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Leadership and Judgment
Two men once robbed a jewelry store. One was a lawyer and the other was a high-school dropout. After being arrested, convicted, and sentenced, the lawyer received a ten-year imprisonment. The dropout received three years. The counselors for the lawyer protested the harsh judgment but the judge insisted that the lawyer was under greater responsibility to be an example of the law.
In like manner are church leaders under a greater responsibility to be living examples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
An ancient Persian proverb offers the following excellent advice on developing leaders.
He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not is fool-shun him.
He who knows not, and knows that he knows not is a child-teach him.
He who knows, and knows not that he knows is asleep-wake him.
He who knows, and knows that he knows is wise-follow him.
The person who can’t lead and won’t follow makes a dandy roadblock.
Stay one step ahead of your people and you are called a leader. Stay ten steps ahead of your people and you are called a martyr!
True leaders always rise to the top, especially in difficult times. They are like beans in a jar of peas. When you place peas and beans in a jar and shake them up vigorously, the peas always settle to the bottom while the beans always come to the top.
So it is with godly men. They can never be held down when shaken up. If they truly have leadership abilities and a love for God, they will always rise to the top.
One day, Confucius was asked by one of his disciples about the ingredients of good government. His answer: “Sufficient food, sufficient weapons, and the confidence of the common people.”
“But,” asked the disciple, “suppose you had no choice but to dispense with one of those three, which would you forego?”
“Weapons,” said Confucius.
His disciple persisted: “Suppose you were then forced to dispense with one of the two that are left, which would you forego?”
Replied Confucius, “Food. For from of old, hunger has been the lot of all men, but a people that no longer trusts its rulers is lost indeed.”
Harry Truman once commented
on the importance of polls to leadership, with the following insight: “I wonder
how far Moses would have gone if he’d taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus
Christ have preached if he’d taken a poll in
A bumper sticker reads: “Don’t follow me. I’m lost too.” Motion des not always mean purpose. Be very careful if you follow the crowd, for they may not know where they are going.
A leader is like a radio station’s clock. That clock is actually much more important than our own watches because we set our watches by the radio station’s clock. So, too, with the character of a leader-he sets the pace for our own standards of conduct.
Over a century ago, a colleague submitted to Asahel Nettleton a list of qualifications to be possessed by those who should be encouraged to enter the ministry. It read thus: (1) Piety; (2) Talents; (3) Scholarship; (4) Discretion. “Change the order,” said Nettleton, “put discretion next to piety.”
One definition of leadership is the ability to recognize the special abilities and limitations of others, combined with the capacity to fit each one into the job where he will do his best. – J. Oswald Sanders
Leadership by Example
Shepherds of God’s flock are not to lord it over the flock, but to prove to be examples. They are to lead by their example. This is graphically illustrated in the U.S. Army. The symbol of the infantry (footsoldiers who do most of the front-line fighting) is a soldier with a rifle in one hand, helmet cocked, and head looking back behind him. The rifle is pointing forward, the other arm is giving a “Come on ahead” motion, and the leader is shouting back, “Follow me!” This symbol illustrates leadership-by-example, as this soldier calls his men to follow him into the heart of the battle.
Writer and Jazz enthusaist Nat Hentoff, on Duke Ellington:
"Ellington talked to me about his music. He composed with each musician in the band particularly in mind. 'You keep their weaknesses in your head as you write,' he said, 'and that way you astonish them with their strengths." ── Nat Hentoff, Boston Boy.
In Everyday Discipleship for Ordinary People, Stuart Briscoe wrote" "One of my young colleagues was officiating at the funeral of a war veteran. The dead man's military friends wished to have a part in the service at the funeral home, so they requested the pastor to lead them down to the casket, stand with them for a solemn moment of remembrance, and then lead them out through the side door. This he proceeded to do, but unfortunately the effect was somewhat marred when he picked the wrong door. The result was that they marched with military precision into a broom closet, in full view of the mourners, and had to beat a hasty retreat covered with confusion.
"This true story illustrates a cardinal rule or two. First, if you're going to lead, make sure you know where you're going. Second, if you're going to follow, make sure that you are following someone who knows what he is doing!" ── from Stuart Briscoe, Everyday Discipleship for Ordinary People.
Today's business people can learn a lot about good leadership from orchestra conductors, says the Harvard Business Review. The first thing a good conductor does is put together a first-rate group of musicians. Toscanini, for example, could not have gotten great music out of a high school band. The next thing the conductor does is make sure that his musicians share his satisfaction with the quality of the music. If they don't all feel an equal sense of accomplishment the conductor's leadership has failed and he will not make great music. ── Management Digest, September 1989.
All morning, an instructor on my staff had been explaining leadership to a class of police recruits. Calling a man to the front of the class, he handed him a piece of paper on which was written: "You are in charge. Get everyone out of the room without causing a panic." The recruit was at a loss for words and returned to his seat. The second man summoned tried: "Everybody outside. Go!" No one moved. A third man glanced at the instructions, smiled and said, "All right, men. Break for lunch." The room emptied in seconds.── Howard Dean.
I’d rather get ten men to do the job than to do the job of ten men.— D. L. Moody
Actually, a manager needs the ability not only to make good decisions himself, but also to lead others to make good decisions. Charles Moore, after four years of research at the United Parcel Service reached the following conclusions:
1. Good decisions take a lot of time.
2. Good decisions combine the efforts of a number of people.
3. Good decisions give individuals the freedom to dissent.
4. Good decisions are reached without any pressure from the top to reach an artificial consensus.
5. Good decisions are based on the participation of those responsible for implementing them.*
What kind of person is best able to involve others and himself in good decision making? J. Keith Louden lists seven qualities:
1. The ability to look ahead and see what's coming -- foresight.
2. Steadiness, with patience and persistence and courage.
3. A buoyant spirit that in spite of cares generates confidence.
4. Ingeniousness, the ability to solve problems soundly yet creatively.
5. The ability to help others.
6. Righteousness, the willingness to do the right thing and speak the truth.
7. Personal morality of a quality that commands the respect of others.**
── * Charles W.L. Foreman, "Managing a Decision Into Being," from the Management Course for Presidents, pp.3-4.
** J. Keith Louden, "Leadership," from the Management Course for Presidents, pp 10-11.
Advice from Ross Perot about how to treat your people:
"Never ask anyone to do what you haven't done before and wouldn't do again. That's a pretty fundamental rule in leadership...treat them like you treat yourself. Things you don't like, they don't like. You don't like to be jerked around, they don't either. You don't like to be talked down to, and they don't either. You would rather work with somebody than for somebody. So would they. You hate people who pound on your head after you gave everything you had and failed...It's that simple." ── Bits & Pieces, August, 20, 1992, p. 3.
Give your decision, never your reasons; your decisions may be right, your reasons are sure to be wrong.── Lord Mansfield.
There is a very strong tendency on the part of Americans, whether in government or business, that you really have to establish some achievement of your own. In Japan, there is emphasis on continuity. Unless there is something wrong, I build on what my predecessor has built. In the U.S., the new man comes in and very often the value of that man is judged by the things he does differently from his predecessor. This is very destabilizing-- you start from scratch. In manufacturing, there is a great deal that can be achieved by continuity. ── Yotaro Kobayashi, President, Fuji-Xeerox Corp. in Resources, #2.
When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision. ── Lucius, Second Lord Falkland.
Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone's following you. ── Virginia State Treasurer, Henry Gilmer.
Tom Landry, former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and one of the finest leaders professional sports has ever known, once said, "Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react." ── Today In The Word, August,1989, p. 30.
Experts know what should be done; leaders know what should be done and how to get people to do it. ── Quoted in C. Barber, Nehemiah and the Dynamics of Leadership, p. 72.