Once in a while, we get it right: We lead from principle, which is to say, we are not prone to compromising our core values. We also get it right when we lead with kindness. Frequently, leaders in our society have chosen either not to value kindness or have lost the ability to lead with kindness; either way, the leadership of kindness has become scarce. We must get it back.
When we “lead” through lack of civility, we instantly abdicate whatever authority might have been there in the first place. I hope you will be different if you are being called to lead. I pray that one of your trademarks will be generosity. The world needs it. Certain elements of society, and we see this today at the pinnacle of our government, see kindness as weakness. This is a rookie mistake of the first order. It just so happens that we can be commanding, principled, firm, and yes—charitable.
Five years ago, I had the pleasure of the benefit of exceptional leadership. My clinical supervisor at the time, The Rev. Dr. Larry Easterling, was one of those “different” leaders, the kind that didn’t need to employ malice or spite to do his job effectively; the type of leader that our society is screaming for. Larry was challenging yet fair; theologically profound yet clear and accessible in his communication. Good leaders were usually good followers. Larry, a veteran of the Peace Corps, had to have been a good follower to have achieved his level of style and leadership.
Some people are not called to lead, and that’s fine. Being a good follower is a wonderful gift. If, however, the call to leadership comes your way, be kind; be accessible. Be different. It will reflect your strength in leadership. Anyone can be nasty. We’ve had enough of that. Should the call to lead ring your bell, be like my friend Larry. Be exceptional, and never forget that others are watching, taking notes, and might be writing about you someday.
It pays for each of us who lead, will lead, or have led to remember the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). We are human and unable to achieve it every time but it should be our objective.
Are you being called to lead? What is your idea of good leadership?