Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leadership or Lordship?

I am away for a time of study in England. Over the last few days, we have spoken much about leadership. I am intrigued as we have discussed the various aspects of leadership as to the differing definitions. Certainly, culture does play into the definition, but not necessarily the way you would think it would.

I am here with people from several countries. There is some cultural shading in the way people think leaders should act. I found it interesting that as we spoke of Christian leadership and our movement's leadership structure, that it was very corporate in its nature. I know the movement is large and needs structure and some protocols built in. It is a given. The layers of structure are amazing and complex.

Yesterday, we had a very challenging lecture and discussion on servant leadership. This model is based on Phil 2:5-11. It is based on Jesus and his willingness to lead, but serve and sacrifice for the good of the mission and the people who followed him. It does not mean weakness. It does mean firmness with grace.

We also looked today at leadership styles and building good functioning teams. We examined the structural leadership of the movement. The lecturer rightly pointed out that there could only be one true leader, Jesus. He also pointed out that the lowest man in the corporate structure could go right to the "Boss."

It has been interesting to me to see how corporately we think as a movement. There are great differences between corporate and kingdom leadership. The leader who recognizes these differences and can balance the two for the good of the Kingdom, is a great one. I did sense in our discussion a real tendency toward judgement instead of grace. That attitude definitely, when unfettered, is not of the Kingdom.

Kingdom leadership, uses influence and grace to get people on board with mission. It communicates directly and effectively. Kingdom leaders also are emboldened and empowered by the Lord himself. Theirs' is a sacrificial style.

Leaders on all levels though can have an identity problem. They often think for whatever reason, their word is law and that respect is given by their position and not their person. In today's culture that is not the case. Actually, it probably never has been. They can be a boss. But leaders get people to follow because they want to follow. They don't have to remind people that they are the leader.

The worst leaders act as lords in a feudal sense. Their style is incredibly autocratic. They exclusively own the mission and use people to fulfill their purposes without consultation and grace.

I began to wonder, "Do I practice leadership or lordship?" I could point to examples of lordship in leaders with whom I have been associated. Or should I say bosses? I have more often, thankfully, seen leadership which is caring, graceful and kind.

I wonder though, if our structure and culture leads more to lordship or leadership? Are we born with a tendency for one or the other? Or are we nurtured into "hammering people?" Is it better to influence or direct?

What do you think?


Blogger FHagglund said...

Great work Larry! I learned a lot about leadership when I was in the Military...and being part of a Corps that had an almost full slate of Local Officers at a formative time in my life...what I have seen in the Army has been more in line with the Corporate Model which promotes egotism and is the opposite that Kingdom Leadership needs for His Mission! In the military we were taught that the mission was vital but the team was also vital because they had ownership in the mission and those who led had the trust of those who followed and those who led did not waste the team in foolish ways!

4:35 PM  
Blogger Cheryl Lyle said...

Larry, (first time responder here). I began to peruse through some of your previous musings and the first thought that came to mind was...we used to say "think outside the box" then some of us began to say, "No, I'm going to get outside the box and think", now some of us say "what box? - there is no box". Not knowing you very well, I am enjoying your "what box" way of thinking. In response to this you are aware, our culture today is not looking for religion, organized or meaningless rhetoric. They are seeking 'authentic Lordship leadership'. They can spot integrity (or lack thereof)a mile away. Kingdom leadership is born out of 'surrender' of our rival kingdoms, whilst corporate leadership is often born out of strategies, plans and programs. Just a thot!

3:38 PM  

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