Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lent '08 - Day 2: Leadership All Around

Leadership surrounded me today.  Here's the recap:
  • While at the gym in the morning, I was listening to the gospel according to Matthew (chapters 14-19), and many thing stood out to me about him as a leader:  

    • When he learns of John the Baptist's death, he attempts to withdraw to be by himself.  
    • When crowds still follow him, he turns the task of feeding the people over to his disciples.  When the disciples fail at the task, Jesus takes over and releases multiplication on the bread and fish.  
    • He calls the religous leaders of his day on their hypocricy and their hard hearts.  When one of the disciples brings it to Jesus' attention that the religious leaders were offended, Jesus says to "leave them alone; they are blind guides of the blind".  
    • When the disciples ask for an explanation of a parable, he asks, "Are you still so dull?"  Ouch!
    • He gets petitioned by a Canaanite woman (i.e. she wasn't a jew) for mercy for her daughter, and despite stating his mission of tending to the lost sheed of Israel, he complies because of her faith.  
    • He doesn't give a sign to the religious leaders who ask him.
    • He pings them for their understanding of who he is.
    • He explains what is going to happen to him.
    • He explains how one becomes great.
    • He teaches about handling conflict.
  • At work today we had a screw up where some people's features were automatically turned off without proper warning.  I watched deciveness about how to minimize the fallout and prevent it from happening again.  I watched how communication was made with those affected.
  • I've been reading about John Perkin's work in Mississippi in With Justice For All.  Community development work has no shortage of visioning, decision making, and guiding.  I'm sure I'll write more about this book soon.
  • We went to the Husky men's basketball game tonight.  We try to sit as close to the Husky bench as possible so we can best observe the coaches.  There is so much to notice.  There's the player substitutions, the timeouts, the coaches huddle before addressing the players, the clapping and butt-slaps of players for doing a good job, the yelling at players for screwing up.  If you watched the game tonight, you know it was a tough one, particularly in the second half.  We got down and couldn't get back.  I respected the leadership exhibited by the coaches though.  There was still a sense of dignity, a "we're going to loose, but let's finish the best we can" attitude.  Good plays and smart decisions were still commended.  How a leader conducts themself when loosing says a lot about them.  Amidst hundreds of coaching suggestions from the students around me, I was reminded as well of the way a leader gets the highs and the lows.  People love you when you lead them to prosperity, and they'll quickly get jumpy when things are rough.  A leader has to be able to shut out the neigh-sayers and quick-fix advice givers in those rough periods.  A good leader (and follower) must follow similar principles to those in stock trading.  You don't play the short game.  Things are to volatile.  You don't want too much invested in the short term.  Bad games happen.  A good leader, like a good stock trader, sees the big picture and looks long term. 
So leadership was all around today.  I'm thankful to notice it.  Leadership is one of the ways in which Christ shows up in my day-to-day.  Good leadership can usually be traced back to his way of life.  Poor leadership comes from not heeding his advice.  Either way, it still points back to him.

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