Thursday, August 31, 2006

Leadership is an important facet of our lives, whether it is in the family structure, the business world, or in our churches. A friend of mine has a teaching that "everything rises and falls on leadership." There are times we would like this not to be true. If we are in leadership, we would prefer to lay blame at the feet of those under us. We might even declare we are a visionary and that it is up to the "workers" to accomplish the goals.

The truth is, that real progress begins with a leader who not only puts forth dreams and visions, but motivates those on his/her team to want to reach the prize. In effect, they lead by example. They do not just talk about where we are going, there is evidence that they are leading in that direction.

When this does not occur it is often reflective of a systemic problem within that leaders life. Too often we pretend that the personal issues or sins we struggle with don't affect others. The attitude that what I am doing won't hurt anybody else is expressed.

The problem is that what we do does affect those around us. When we fail on an individual level it has an impact on those closest to us first, then if it goes uncorrected, it begins to infiltrate the remainder of the ranks. A dynamic leader can be brought down quickly by hidden personal failure.

The selfish attitude that is prevalent in our society of self-gratification is a major factor. We become so 'me focused' and driven to bring about personal pleasure, that other areas begin to suffer. There is a redirection of resources. When they are not allocated properly, the ship begins to tilt, and if unchecked may sink.

A dynamic leader will inspire others and draw them in. When their heart is focused in the right direction, it will be evident to those around them and the team will work in a synergistic fashion to accomplish the vision. All will benefit through the process when the leaders heart is right. It does take a team to accomplish the dream.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was in Indiana, I returned to our former home. I visited the BJ tree. I walked up and sat down beside it. I thought back nearly a year ago when we encircled it and sought our Lord for comfort and peace amid the difficulty. I reflected back on memories of him and how he loved that property. How he loved to take walks with us, how he loved to share with us what God was teaching him or what was going on in his life. It was a precious time.

As I went over these images in my mind, I noticed that the tree did not look the same. In fact, the top of the spruce (called the "central leader") was virtually needleless. I confess my heart sank.

Sometimes when a central leader begins to die it reveals a significant problem. One that cannot be diagnosed by just looking at the outside of the tree. While it is indicative of an internal problem, you must collect information about the whole situation. You must look at other factors affecting the health of the tree. The loss of the central leader is not always a death knell for the tree. If the problem that exists is localized, you can simply wire up an adjacent top branch, aim it to the sky, and it will take over the role. In time the tree will recover.

If the issue is one that is pervasive throughout the inner workings and it goes untreated by one who can diagnose the problem, death will follow.

As much as I would like the tree to survive. My resources in those moments were limited. I rewired a new central leader, and hoped (okay, I prayed) for its survival.

The tree may live, or it may not.

What is truly important is dealing with the internal systemic issues. Is it time to take personal inventory of where things are headed in your life?

Don't just treat the symptoms, get to the root of the problem.

dad

5 Comments:

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Clinton said...

wow

 
At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Phil Christensen said...

thank you all for continuing to bless me. I have been able to share God's amazing story unfolding in your lives with many people the past few weeks. Pray for them! And continue to know that I'm praying for You.

Your servant,
Phil

 
At 10:16 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

First thought: I agree (with my son's summertime POP?) . . . Wow.

Second thought: these leadership principles apply to our families, too. So often we can easily see the problems and mistakes in our children's lives. They may even seem strangely familiar because they begin and end (rise and fall!) with US. We need to carefully examine our lives and ask God to prune away those things that will keep us--or those under our care--from optimum growth.

I'll pray for the BJ tree, Brent, but not as much as I pray for the ones who planted it. Thanks for sharing its lesson.

still praying from soaked but safe Charleston as Ernesto moves northward (remembering Cousin Beth and family, Lynae, and others, too)

Marti

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent and Deanna,

I am so disappointed that I will not be able to see you in Snellville! (This is Miki, a friend of Lynae's in Atlanta). This blog has ministered to me so much throughout this last year, and I appreciate all of you so much. You continue to be in my prayers.

 
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