Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)
I’ve told you that I’ve been doing a lot of team building with my staff at one of our historical sites. It’s been like blowing up the tires in your car only to find that some of the tires won’t hold air. Some have a slow leak while other are flatter than a pancake. I’ve been pumping and pumping and am worn out. It has led me to reconsider something I have always held true. I have always been taught and agreed with this philosophy, “Leaders are made, not born.” According to the Internet (and we all know that the Internet is always true), Vince Lombardi is credited with that quote. Vince Lombardi might have been a great football coach, but I do not think he knew a lot about human nature. Because I am coming to learn that you cannot make someone into a leader. Leaders might be diamonds in the rough, but they only require polish, not creation. This is a revolutionary way of thinking for me, but I remember those strong willed, hard nosed children who you pull your hair out trying to get to obey and play nice with other children. If you can just keep them focused on good activities and positive role models, they grow up and stun you with their amazing wisdom and determination. Then, there are those kids who do everything right growing up and never give you a bit of trouble. But, they flounder in adulthood because they don’t have anyone to tell them what to do anymore. I remember when I participated in our community’s year long leadership training course. We went to all different agencies, government and social service, to our school board and to manufacturers and farmers to learn how we might be better leaders in our community. The key was better leaders. We were not taught to be leaders; we were already leaders and just being shown places where we could help use our skills. I think we are making a mistake when we assume everyone is capable of being leaders, and we do a disservice when we put people into leadership positions and expect them to perform well when they don’t belong there. No matter how much we train or how much time we invest we are setting them up for failure. They were not born to be leaders. I think we also put too much stock into expecting people to be leaders. What kind of world would this be if it were made up of all Chiefs and no Indians? Is there too much to this message of being your own man or own woman. Isn’t it okay to be a person who knows how to take orders and follow through on getting things that the leaders think up done? I will be interested in hearing what you all in blog land think about this. Danielle and Vicki, my two favorite shrinks, I particularly hope you will weigh in. While I mull over this thought that leaders are born, not made, I will also be thinking of the greatest leader of all. And whether I am doing a good enough job being His follower.