J. Oswald Sanders said, Leadership is influence. That’s absolutely true. Unfortunately a lot of people are wrongly influenced to become leaders because of the mistaken notion leaders have it made and there are so many benefits to being a leader.
So for those who might think like that, let me share with you some luxuries leaders won’t have:
(1) THE LUXURY OF DOING WHAT I WANT, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER I WANT.
The higher up in leadership, the fewer choices you have. Psychologist philosopher, William James, said, “Everybody ought to do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for the practice.”
A leader doesn’t get to clock out, check out or shut down. Wherever you go, you are still a leader; whether it's a ballgame, theater, grocery store, airport, or just walking around your neighborhood. At least you better be, or you won’t be leading long.
(2) THE LUXURY OF GOING HOME EVEN THOUGH THERE'S STILL MORE WORK TO BE DONE.
Employees don't have to worry about a leak in the roof, but the owner does. Leadership is ownership. Leaders make sure that what needs to be done gets done. What needs to be accomplished gets accomplished.
Leaders live out Proverbs 24:27, “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”
(3) THE LUXURY OF LAZINESS AND INDIFFERENCE.
Others may not care; but the leader, by definition, position, and hopefully by passion, has to care. Leaders care when others couldn’t care less.
(4) THE LUXURY OF SAYING WHAT YOU THINK.
There will be times when you’d love to let people know what you’re really thinking. The reality is, leaders have to take the shots of others without returning shots of their own. The leader, especially a Christian leader, has learned the beauty and duty of self-control when others are out of control.
They understand Proverbs 26:4-5, where Solomon seems to give conflicting counsel about answering a fool. Actually, Solomon was making the point that sometimes you “answer a fool according to his folly,” and sometimes you don’t. Leaders know when to stand up and when to stand down.
(5) THE LUXURY OF QUITTING WHEN THE WORK GETS TOO HARD, THE HOURS TOO LONG, AND THE SACRIFICE TOO MUCH.
You know why it’s been said so many times, leadership is lonely? It’s because so many sit on the sidelines instead of serving on the frontlines and, over time, so many are more likely to quit than continue.
People are going to bail out all the time. Leaders don't have that luxury. We're in it for the long haul.
Short-term leaders rarely leave long-lasting legacies.
(6) THE LUXURY OF TAKING A BREAK FROM BEING A LEADER.
Once you accept the mantle of leadership, you’re a leader all the time. You can take a day off or go on a vacation, but you’re still a leader.
No one takes a break from being married. If you try it, you may find yourself unmarried, fast.
No one takes a break from being a parent. If you do, you may find yourself at the jail, getting a call from the fire department, the hospital or living with the consequences of childish choices made in your absence.
No one takes a break from being a Christian, even though many try and all who do fail.
No one takes a break from being a leader. If you do, and ignore or for some reason, momentarily forget your priorities, principles, values, responsibilities and the expectations of those who look up to you as a leader, you're headed for certain trouble.
It was said of King David, in 2 Samuel 11:1, “In the Spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.”
IN THE VERY NEXT VERSE … DAVID IS IN TROUBLE!
On April 3, 1998, one of the greatest air disasters in U.S. history was barely averted. An air traffic control superviser spilled coffee in the control tower of New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. Another controller turned to help clean up the mess but the supervisor said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get it.”
By the time the controller got his focus back on the planes, two jets were within 20 feet of colliding with each other about 200 feet above the runway intersection. The coffee spill caused the controller to miss a needed call for one jet to abort its landing. Consequently, a U.S. Airways jet passed beneath the tail of an Air Canada jet at 130 miles per hour. (Source: The Houston Chronicle)
Thankfully, nobody died that day. But misplaced priorities can have disastrous results. So can misplaced perceptions.
Leadership is hard work. In fact, it’s one of the toughest assignments a person can ever be given. Once you've been given the task, you’ll learn in short order that the real luxuries of leadership are few and the miseries can oftentimes be multitudinous and overwhelming.
Our world is in dire need of some genuinely great leaders. But they won’t come from those who sign up because of the benefits. No, quite the contrary, great leaders always come from those individuals who sign on because they’re willing to bear the burdens.
© 2013. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.