WHAT IS LEADERSHIP? (Part One)

Blog: Max Dawson
June 1, 2017
When I was 17 years old (just five days out of high school) I joined the U.S. Air Force. At the induction center in downtown Indianapolis I was assigned to organize and lead a group of about 15 men–to make sure they were all at the right place at the right time. Like me, these young men were being inducted into the Air Force.
I was given that assignment because of the scores on my aptitude test (a test of reading, math and mechanical skills). Seven weeks later, at an Air Force Tech School in Amarillo, I was assigned to be the leader of my class on the same basis. By the way, those scores on my test were not that high. They might have mixed up my scores with someone else’s–or maybe the low scores just said something about the quality of recruits. I don’t know.
But, there I was, fresh out of high school, barely 17, weighing in at 125 pounds, and standing five-foot, seven-inches. (I still had 40 pounds and a couple more inches to go.) I knew nothing about leadership. Some of the guys I was supposed to lead weighed twice as much as I did. They were five or six inches taller. But I was their leader–or so I was told.
Do you think that was a good method for making leadership assignments? What pitfalls could you potentially see in this method? What could possibly go wrong?
The fact is, I was given a “position” of leadership. In my judgment, there is not much relevance between aptitude tests and leadership skills.
Who should have been the leader of those new recruits? I think it should have been the biggest and meanest looking dude in the bunch. At least he might command a little physical authority over the group. I had no such authority.
This raises the question: What constitutes leadership? What is leadership?
THE FINAL WORD
Leadership? It is certainly not being given a position. That was evident in my case.
Yet, occasionally, in the Lord’s church, a man will think, “If they would just make me an elder, then I would be a leader. If they would only give me that position.”
But it is likely that he would not be a leader. He might have the position. But that position should be given only to men who have already demonstrated that they are leaders. See , “…let these also first be proved…”
There is an old line that asks the question, “If you call a dog’s tail a leg, then how many legs does the dog have?” The typical answer is “Five.” But the correct answer is: “Four. To call a dog’s tail a leg does not make it a leg.”
To call a man a “leader” because he has been given a position, doesn’t make him a leader.
So, what is leadership? Watch for more on this in Monday’s blog.
Blessings to you, my dear friends,
–Max


10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. (ESV)