The Light of Leadership
We are entering the Christmas season, which, as a person of the Christian faith, is a time when we celebrate Light coming into the world…the light of Jesus. The gospel of John says, “In him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5 ESV) In John’s gospel, Jesus as light is mentioned 16 times, and Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
In many Christmas Eve services, candles will be lit to represent the light of Jesus overcoming the darkness of the world. What a great tradition!
As I reflected on the season, (both seasonally and culturally) being a follower of Jesus, the greatest leader the world has known, I thought about the light of leadership. As leaders, we take on responsibility to help people overcome the darkness in their lives, to help them not stumble as we walk the journey of life together, to help bring truth to light for them, to help them build their belief in a better future.
You may not think of yourself as a leader, but I can guarantee you are a leader. You may or may not lead a work team, a sports team, or a group of people in your community. You more than likely lead some aspect of the family you are in. Minimally, you lead yourself, which is likely the hardest person you have to lead. In some respect, you are a leader, and your role is to help bring light to those you lead.
How do you do that? Here are four ways I’ve learned from my mentor, John C. Maxwell, to bring the light of leadership to others.
- The Light of Perspective. Leaders see things that others do not necessarily see, or at least before they see them. As a leader, it is our job to help bring light to the situation, to help people see things differently. And in leading ourselves, it means slowing down and looking at the situation with a different perspective. Ask yourself and those you lead: what are we seeing in this situation? How could we look at it differently? Who might have another perspective we are missing? Bring the light of perspective.
- The Light of Connection. Leaders connect with people. When we get to know people, and understand who they are and what they need, we show them that we care, and begin to build trust and credibility with them. In the Law of Connection, John Maxwell states: “Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.” This connection allows what is true to come to light. Bring the light of connection.
- The Light of Positivity. Sharing positive thoughts and information with others, or reflecting on them yourself, can lead to action and momentum building. Sharing your wisdom and experiences in a positive way that allows other to learn from you can save them time and effort and help them to avoid potential pitfalls. There is nothing like learning from the evaluated experiences of others. Bring the light of positivity.
- The Light of Added Value. Leaders understand that they need to add value to people and situations every day. That value is different for every person and every situation. In the Law of Addition, John states, “leaders add value by serving others.” How can you serve those you lead today? Bring the light of added value.
When it comes to the light of leadership, “the first person we have to examine is ourselves.” (This is John’s Mirror Principle) The hardest person to lead is ourselves. Our perspectives are often messed up, our connections aren’t always honest with us, our negative thoughts get in the way, and we are not always good at serving ourselves in healthy ways. But this is a great time to reflect on these things and bring light to our own leadership.
John Maxwell Team Founding Member