“If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you. If you really make them think, they’ll hate you.” ~Don Marquis

“The problem with being a leader is that you’re never sure if you’re being followed or chased.” ~Claire A. Murray

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t!” ~Margaret Thatcher

“I would rather be an artist than a leader. Ironically, a leader has to follow the rules.” ~Criss Jami

“Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men–the other 999 follow women.” ~Groucho Marx

Originally posted on Facebook–February, 2007

Recently, someone came to me and told me that I was a good “leader” and should take on that role more. And while being called a leader is not something derogatory, I do not believe it describes a skill I possess any more than the next person. The basic definition for a leader is as follows:

“One who is in charge or in command of others”

In my opinion, ANYONE can be a leader; we all have the capability. The more practice you have being in charge of others or in command of others, the greater the chance you will do well at it. “Leader” is such a broadly defined word, and providing leadership is an inexact science as a result. Effective leadership can differ depending on an infinite number of variables.

The two that come to mind as the most determining factors for effective leadership, are a person’s personality and the scope of his or her authority. For instance, if there is a group of vocal people that need a leader that can provide a unified direction, it will be difficult for a low-key person to fill that role without being provided the “formal” authority to succeed in that role.

Without the formal authority, it is unlikely such a personality will be able to be heard and followed by the group. However, with the formal power of “position,” as long as the leader sets expectations and establishes consequences for inadherence, he or she can gain control of the situation and lead. Even so, if that individual does not lead through example or establishes an appropriate direction, their formal power could eventually be removed. Goals must be set and achieved for a leader to truly be effective.

This is not to say that we should not be responsible and strive to be excellent leaders when placed in such a position. All authority comes from God. When placed in such a role, we should do so with a humility and meekness that is others-focused. And we all will eventually serve is such roles. For instance, I may one day be a teacher, manager, husband, father, etc…

I know I can be a leader, as all of us can. Though, I often prefer not to seek leadership. I prefer to grow and change as a person, and only in certain leadership roles is that most possible. Rather, I more often gravitate to the role of “catalyst.” It is what I want to be as it relates to the betterment of others.

A catalyst increases the rate of reaction. Catalysts change in the course of reactions but are regenerated. Therefore, a catalyst has the opportunity to cause change while being able to change themselves in the process. When placed in appropriate positions of leadership, I believe we are both a leader and a catalyst.

Probably the most famous and impactful catalyst ever experienced on Earth was Jesus. He was able to change the hearts and save the souls of an immeasurable number of people through His death on earth, while He went through a change via His “rebirth” at the right hand of the Father. Even more amazing is that He was able to create catalysts (His disciples) that have continued a reaction which is accelerating still this very day.

Yes, Jesus also played the role of leader in varying ways during His time on Earth, and still leads as the role model for every “Christian.” But it was His willingness to be both a leader and a catalyst that has saved so many of us. During His change from death to rebirth, He was humiliated, beaten, endured great pain and suffering. But…He was regenerated…and how beautiful a change!

To be a catalyst, we must be willing to go against society when appropriate. We must be willing to question the logic and purpose of things that we do on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute, second-by-second basis. We must be willing to speak counter to the accepted when in our hearts that is what must be done. We must be willing to be quiet when that is the appropriate course of action as well…demonstrate patience. Rather than be leaders, we should “follow” the example that was placed in front of us and GIVE “leadership” to Jesus. Not because He has the AUTHORITY to do so (which He does), but because we SUBMIT to His authority with LOVE and OBEDIENCE.

In doing so, we too may one day have to endure great pain and suffering; where we could have chosen to avoid it. But…oh what a glorious change of which we will be a beneficiary…

Don’t search for the power of leadership, but rather look for the opportunity to be a catalyst for love…

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