I have read about leaders, from leaders, and written to leaders. I have known great leaders, average leaders, and poor leaders. I wish there was a single thing I could share from my experience that if you were to “do this’ , or “not do that” you would automatically be propelled into “great leader” status. As far as I know, such a magic pill doesn’t exist. But, take heart…. I have discovered one thing that, while even poor leaders sometimes do it, EVERY great leader seems to refer to this practice in one way or another.
As a man of faith, I hold that a quiet time with God is central to my life. I know there may be people who read this that don’t agree with references to faith, God, or Christianity. For those I suggest they read the words of great leaders and discover that even those who didn’t believe in God, found it necessary to spend some time in, what one might call, “meditation.” For those of us who profess faith in God, we know the reality of sitting in His presence, as we worship, pray, and listen for His guidance. For most of us, the questions become: “Do I do it often enough? Do I endeavor to lead out of His strength or my own? Do I lead in His way ,or along a path I have plotted for myself and others?”
It’s clear to me that great leaders of the past and present get away from the rush of people, and the stress they bring, as a regular rhythm of life. They find a place of quiet, a place to be with their thoughts and sort out the ideas and competing voices of their day to focus on the things they know to be true. As people of faith, we hold these musings in the spiritual light of God’s presence to be purified. Eventually, with the dross, of our passions and hubris, swept away by the force of His presence, we are left to discover that which is pure, holy, and good.
Now, you might think this all sounds a bit lofty, but then I’d suggest you have not chosen to regularly practice the discipline of silence before your creator. You might say this all sounds a bit mystical and incredible. You might feel silly even contemplating such a spiritual exercise, let alone making it a regular part of your life. You might feel that to submit yourself to such a routine, would say you were expecting to eventually lead above your natural abilities, because of God’s divine help. And I would say, “What’s wrong with that? Don’t we all want to do something significant before we die? Isn’t being part of something incredible a dream we harbor as leaders?”
What stops most people from spending time quietly in God’s presence, is a fear of the silence, and what they might hear out of that silence. “What if I hear from something I don’t like? What if He tells me to change my life course?”
As leaders we hope that our people will not just seek our our council and direction, but will follow it as well. You already know that leadership is a position of high responsibility, and I am suggesting here that we leaders choose to place ourselves responsible to God and seek His direction… as our leader. If you are not a person of faith, I challenge you to mediate regularly, anyway. Clear your mind of the day’s clutter and get refocused on what is most important in life. If you dare… ask God to reveal Himself to you, if He exists, over the coming months.
Leaders, we all want the best for our organizations, as well as to achieve our fullest potential. Take it from the great ones (I suggest you read them for yourself), and begin a regular routine of getting away from your thoughts and activities, to seek the thoughts of the one we serve.
Blessings on you all. I pray you will hear His small voice calling to you our of the stillness.
Shhhhh… Did you hear that?