Here is my first installment of “Things That Didn’t Matter To Me That Now Do (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).” For a complete picture, you also need to see my Top 10 List of Things I Don’t Care About Anymore (Part 1 and Part 2).
1. Consensus: This is mostly for my American audience, as we share a strong historical and cultural gravitational pull towards “doing our own thing.” Growing up, my dad taught me about Alvin C. York, the hayseed Bible thumping pacifist that turned out to be the biggest war hero of WWI. He taught me about Audie Murphy in WWII, the original Rambo who perhaps pulled off the most heroic feat in a battle against Germany since Leonidas and his 300 Spartans took on Persia. Americans love how our thirteen colonies gave a giant middle finger to the British Empire in 1776, and how Abe Lincoln stared down the southern rebellion in the 1860’s. We line up for movies featuring one hero facing powerful enemies, with names like John Rambo, Frodo Baggins, James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, Michael Corleone, Bruce Wayne, Indiana Jones, and Tony Stark becoming heroes to entire generations. These stories inspire us to be brave, to live to be something greater than just ourselves, and also guarantee that we will be horrible leaders if we use them as a blueprint for leadership. Yup.
Every leader has moments where they have to face adversity. But constantly imposing my will on others on every issue without consensus will not build a legacy of new leaders. It will create drones. Look, I understand that the very idea of building consensus instead of “taking a stand” can be despicable to an American. We’ve been taught that it is far braver to stand alone and die when the alternative is to bow and kneel to live. Sometimes this is true. But it all sounds a bit overly dramatic, doesn’t it?
Every dad has to take a hard stance on something with his kids, but nobody wants the dad who never listens and just demands things. And nobody wants that dad for a boss. Or a neighbor. Or a friend. Or (drumroll….) a pastor. The challenge for a leader is not how to make everyone do what they want them to do, but rather how to lead a team forward in the right direction. Sometimes consensus is impossible, but other times it just isn’t valued. I learned early on that I would have to be strong and sometimes stand alone. It has taken a much longer and difficult road to realize that leading a team and building consensus can be at times the greatest challenge of all.
I feel for leaders who, to be blunt, have crappy team members. There are no-win situations where a leader is stuck with a team that includes irresponsible, immature, “know-it-all” types that think you somehow have no wisdom to offer, and privately stroke their own ego as to how much better they can do your job. There is a fine line between stacking your team with “yes men” and building a team of like – minded Gospel centered leaders. Quality team members will value a leader who seeks to build consensus.
That is my first installment of “Things That Didn’t Matter To Me That Now Do (Part 1, Part 2).” For a complete picture, you also need to see my Top 10 List of Things I Don’t Care About Anymore (Part 1 and Part 2, Part 3).