The word LEADER carries many implications

TLG Partner Michael Anderson

April 2, 2019

LEADER. Google returns some 479,000,000 definitions for “leadership. That bewildering statistic is from a slightly more helpful Inc. Magazine article titled 100 Answers to the Question: What is Leadership? I am in no mood to match wits with 479,000,000 leadership authorities and pundits so I will simply appeal to Merriam Webster who defines leader: something that leads: such as a primary or terminal shoot of a plant. 

That will do nicely.

The word LEADER carries many implications. One of the assumed implications of the word leader is that others follow. If others follow, there must be a destination, goal, or some sort of progress. It does not seem unreasonable to suggest that another implication is that followers have a choice. When followers don’t have a choice, the leader is no leader, the leader is a dictator. Mr. Webster’s definition brings another implication: growth.

When a plant dies it ceases to grow and ceases to lead. It seems reasonable to carry this idea over to human leaders as well. When a leader stops growing, her leadership capacity and skills stop growing as well. While it is doubtful that all leadership stops, it is reasonable to conclude that her leadership level is capped and may even regress. Leaders are living organisms and living things grow. When they stop growing, they die.

What other assumed implications are in the word “leader”? More importantly, how are you growing as a leader, as a person, as a human? In the book of Proverbs, we read that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Pr. 27:17). Who has permission to sharpen your life?

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