Follow the Leader

Do people follow you because they have to or because they are inspired by you? In our lives, we are all leaders and followers depending on the situation. Sometimes at home, you are the leader and other times you are the follower. Good followers do not go blindly, they understand the mission of the leader and follow to make things better. What kind of a follower are you? Generally speaking, followers inspire others and in turn become leaders.

Even designated leaders must learn to be good followers. Unfortunately, we often see people in leadership positions who demand allegiance from their followers but they fail to act in the same way to those they follow. What kind of follower are you? Do you demand from those you lead something you won’t give as a follower yourself or do you leave them in the dark about where you are headed? We should always try to lead by setting a good example. The bottom line is that we all need to work toward common goals for the betterment of the greater good. Effective leadership and followership fosters an atmosphere that inspires innovation, allows people time to explore ideas and be creative which will pay dividends in morale and may produce efficiencies or new products.

Matthew 4:19 – “Come, follow me,“ Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus provided us with great examples of leadership. He was a great follower too – he fulfilled the prophets and, followed the commandments and His Father’s will with perfection. We will never be perfect but we can use Jesus’ examples in our lives. When Jesus said “I will make you fishers of men”, it really means: I will give you the tools, the strength, the time, the understanding, the guidance and an example to follow so that you, my disciples, will lead people to me.

Despite His followers set backs, Jesus was always there to pick them up, help them understand and lead another day. He gave them opportunities to serve and circumstances to teach the Word of God. Are you a fisher of men? The Lord has blessed you by putting you in a unique position as both a leader and a follower. Remember what Jesus did, how he lead, and put that to good work. The work of a follower is important to. Understand the mission and do your best. Reading the Bible, daily devotions and deliberate Christian living are keys to being a good follower and you will attract those that need a leader. In the end, you are already a fisher of men.

Leadership

Leadership can be a number of different things to different people. Some seek leadership while others simply provide it. Leadership can be hard to define too. The United States Army defines leadership as “influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation, while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.” I agree whole-heartedly with this definition, being a leader is about being able to influence people. Some will view the idea of “influence others” as a negative thing but in this definition, the goal is to get people to do things that they didn’t know that they could do.

Leaders need to work with every employee to help them achieve their highest potential. When employees feel supported at work, they tend to work harder and as a result, the organization becomes stronger. There are “leaders” who believe that they are leading because their people check with them on all decisions. They think that they are supporting their people because they answer their phone calls. They are simply holding the employees back by not letting them make decisions, think critically and be independent. How are they supposed to learn if they never get a chance to make a decision?

If you are a leader, look out for your people and care for them. This doesn’t mean do their work or become protective over them. It means that you care about their future, their growth and work-related wellbeing. Leading is like teaching a child to ride a bike. You give them the lessons, you guide them by holding the seat and running along side them and then you let go. If they fall, you help them back up and reassure them before doing it again. When they ride on their own, you celebrate what they’ve done.
“For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…” Psalm 91:11
Sounds like a great leader doesn’t it? God will guard you in everything, how great would that be? The interesting thing with this verse is that it doesn’t say “He will command His angels to do things for you” which is what most people want out of God. Most people want Him to provide for everything they desire and to protect them from everything bad. And when God doesn’t do all of that, they start to turn away. C.S. Lewis in his book “The Screwtape Letters”, he describes what a letter between two demons might sound like and how simple it is to turn us against God. We are quick to turn on Him and begin relying on ourselves, which is really our sinful nature.

“He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”. God is with you every day in everything you do. He is there to guard you and protect you, not from things on earth but to protect you for all eternity. God’s worry isn’t about this life; it’s about your eternal life. Re-read the Army definition of a leader and then apply it to what God does for you. His mission is to have us join Him in heaven and the organization is all of mankind. He wants to influence us so we can influence others. Be assured that God is there to guard you. He will not test or forsake you but has promised to love and care for you. Sounds like a great leader.