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Pillars of Leadership…What Are Yours?

I can trace my fascination with leadership back to a very specific moment.  In the mid-90′s my wife, Rachel, and I were in one of our final interviews to join John Maxwell’s team at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego as their Junior High Pastor.  We were meeting with one of the executive Pastors when, sort of out of nowhere, the question was asked: “Kurt, are you a leader?”  To be completely honest, I had never really thought much about leadership. I was a Pastor, a youth worker and a decent builder of teams….but a “leader”? I had never thought about it, and didn’t even know how to answer.  As I fumbled and bumbled my way through some sort of contrived answer, Rachel saved the day (and perhaps my chances at the position) because she was smart enough to intervene and say something along the lines of “from my perspective, Kurt is an amazing leader because…………….” She was quick to recognize that there needed to be a good, strong, well defined answer…after all, that is certainly a mark of leadership! 

They hired me. They probably should have hired Rachel.

Over the years I have read books, attended seminars, invested in graduate school etc. etc. etc. all dedicated to learning more about, and hopefully becoming a better leader.

And while I am fascinated with the topic/idea of leadership, and still find myself on a continuous hunt for more input, I have (in the past year or so) landed on a few personal “Pillars of Leadership” (that’s my lame title) that I hope inform every leadership scenario I find myself in.  Here is what it looks like for me.

Pillar #1:  Leadership is Liquid

– Leadership is as much (if not more) art than science.

– Different scenarios need different approaches, leadership styles etc.

– Different people need to be led differently.

Pillar #2: Strive to be Ethical, Effective, Efficient and Excellent

Ethical: True to Christ, True to Myself, True to Others

Effective: Doing the right things

Effecient: Doing things the right way

Excellent: Giving things my best effort

Pillar #3: Leadership is Over-rated (sorry John Maxwell, Authors, and Grad School Profs)

– Ultimately it is God at work through me, not my own personal skill-set that will bring about the best results.

– The gift of leadership is no better than any of the other gifts.

– I would rather my tombstone say “He was a great guy” than “He was a great leader”

Your “Pillars of Leadership” would probably be different, but you ARE building your leadership style on something….on what, exactly, is probably worth considering.

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Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.