For the past five years I have served as the Technical Ministries Pastor at Flamingo Road Church. In that five years I have had to learn a lot about leadership. One of the most important lessons I can think of is this; leadership is not about compliance, it’s about acceptance.
Leadership is teaching, preparing, and empowering people and encouraging them toward a particular goal or outcome. All too often, as leaders, we mistake goal accomplishment for successful leadership. Leadership is NOT about the goal. Let me repeat, leadership is NOT about the goal! It’s possible, and all to common, to achieve a very high level of goal or task accomplishment but to fail miserably as a leader. That’s because leadership is all about people.
It all comes down to the notion of compliance verses acceptance. Successful leadership is not measured by the level of subordinate compliance. If those who work for or serve under you simply do what you ask because you’re the boss, you’re not a leader. Furthermore, if you’re leading your people out of position they will always do only what you’ve asked them to do. The will never innovate, collaborate, or adopt the vision. Those whom you are charged with leading will only comply as long doing so is their best interest. The minute something bigger or better comes along, they will leave.
Acceptance on the other hand is, or at least should be, the goal of every leader. It’s not about the what, it’s about the why. Once your team owns the vision, or buys the why, they will begin to accomplish tasks with more innovation, collaboration, and efficiency than ever before. Furthermore, if you gain their acceptance your team will perform at the same level even when you’re not around. That’s successful leadership!