This is one of the best experiences I have with my family. Over the past few years, my wife and I have made a point to help our three lovely children build precious family memories. It is more about love for each other; time to reflect about the previous year, and, of course, a hearty Christmas dinner.
This year, however, I was challenged to rethink the holiday season. A sermon last Sunday took me back to the Christmas tree we had put up. And to some reflection on what authentic leadership is all about.
1. Memories a leader maketh. What we build in the minds of others is all the difference. We hope that through it they can appreciate that the relationships we build around the tree are much more valuable than anything money can buy. Our Christmas tree this year is from recycled parts of a tree that fell down in our backyard after heavy rains. It helps us to remember that this is a season to mark a humble birth. Of a boy born of an ordinary woman and a humble carpenter.
2. Leadership is about people, not yourself. How much do I share with others? Do I care for them or are they just a means to an end? This season is not how much activity and merry-making we are involved in, but how many souls and hearts we reach out to. Just like the inn-keeper who gave of the only space available in Bethlehem, a manger, I need to gift those I serve with the best I have in hand. It starts with the leadership we demonstrate to our children, and flows over to community.
3. Leadership is not seasonal. It does not only happen when conditions are just right. Neither is it only found when circumstances push me to the wall. To be a successful leader, may I pose that I have to be acutely aware of my present, but at the same time own my past in order to create a future that matters. I have to be more compassionate. I need to stand for what is right even when others find solace in ‘minding their own business’.
“Jesus of Nazareth did not live to be served, but to serve. He gave himself away on behalf of others. His example communicated a simple but profound truth: leadership isn’t about how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.” The John Maxwell Company.
My legacy will be based on who I am, not what I have. That is the true meaning of the Christmas spirit. It is simple, rustic, and served with a healthy portion of a leader’s heart.
This coming year, how are you planning to grow your depth of leadership?
photo credit: Kimunya Mugo