We cannot lead when we don’t know where we’re going. But it’s also true leading is not just about pushing our own agenda. To lead well we must learn to listen to and follow the needs of others.

Leadership is a dynamic relationship.

On the one hand, we have some future vision we’re trying to guide others toward. And, at the same time, this vision must be related to the needs and core desires of those who would follow us.

Leadership breaks down when both of these elements are not present.

We easily become a bully or a tyrant when we attempt to force an agenda on others without caring for what’s important to them.

And, on the other hand, we become impotent and ineffective when we simply try to keep other people happy and constantly defer to their every whim of desire.

A good leader possesses the qualities of steel and velvet.

We have the strength to stand up for what we believe in while also humbly listening to what’s important to others. And we embrace an unwavering commitment to follow through on what God has called us to while remaining sensitive to the needs of those we lead.

In short, we lead with compassion and understanding.

And it’s in this way that leadership is a dynamic dance of leading and following – knowing the true needs of others while using all we have to guide them towards God’s best.

To run ahead of others with our own agenda eventually leads to emotional and relational disconnection. People will soon stop following when they don’t feel actively cared for.

Likewise, frustration builds and we loose the respect of others when we’ve been called to lead but we abdicate our responsibilities in our efforts to be merely accommodating.

Lead by having a clear vision forward while also following and staying in touch with the needs of others.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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