The People You Lead

There's a fine line between leading with vision and manipulating people that leaders can't ever afford to cross.

Leaders need vision; they need to lead toward something. And leaders need followers, following him toward that vision.

However, the leader who only leads the organization to accomplish his vision is destined to be a short-lived leader.  Wise leaders lead towards what is truly best for those he leads, no matter what. He has the hearts of the people he leads at the front of his mind rather than his own agenda.

People are not obstacles to be avoided or stepping stones to be navigated. They're not cogs in the machine or pieces on a chessboard. They are't a means for achieving what we want as leaders. We are responsible (from a human standpoint) to provide what they need in pursuit of their vision, even if the vision isn't fully developed in their mind. 

Tom Landry used to say, "My job is to get a bunch of men to do the very thing they hate so that they can achieve the one thing they want more than anything else." Most of those players didn't anticipate the cost or the steps, but they could see the Super Bowl. Landry's responsibility was not to manipulate those players into achieving his goals; it was to give every waking moment to helping the players achieve theirs, even when they couldn't see it.

In John 13, a famous example, Jesus' disciples didn't seem to notice their smelly feet. Jesus could have commanded that they wash His, but instead chose to lead by meeting a need the disciples didn't even realize they had in pursuit of the thing they wanted more than anything else even when they didn't realize it: to be like Him. Because He loved them.

When it comes down to it, love is the only right motivation for a good leader. It changes the way we view ourselves; the ones who lead; and our role altogether.