Hungry Leaders

There are literally donuts 5 feet away from me right now, though that’s not the kind of hunger I’m talking about.

A friend loaned me his book Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward. As far as leadership books go, it’s good, but not great. The classic is still The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations (J-B Leadership Challenge: Kouzes/Posner) by Kouzes and Posner.

Launching a Leadership Revolution is still worth a read. It starts with some basic principles of leadership and then moves to the “5 Levels of Leadership”, the fifth level being the “leadership revolution” where the leader develops leaders who develops leaders. The Apostle Paul is given as the exemplary Fifth Level Leader.

I think the best material is actually at the front of the book. Brady and Woodward outline three fundamental character traits for leaders. They must be hungry, hone-able, and honorable. To be honorable means that leaders need to be of high character. To be hone-able means that leaders must be teachable.

To be hungry means that leaders need to be, to some degree, discontent with the way things are. Leaders “wage war” against the status quo and strive for change. Where does this discontent come from? It comes from being able to see the disconnect between the way things are and the way things need to be. The “way things need to be” is the leader’s vision.

I’ve been challenged by this because one of my weaknesses as a leader is in the area of “vision.” It takes a lot of work for me to sit down and think, “What can we do better?” “What would it look like for us to become better followers of Christ?” “How can we better fulfill our mission to make disciples?” and then communicate that vision to others.

For churches that vision, that hunger, comes from seeing the deep disconnect between where we are and where we need to be. I love my church but we’re not perfect. I need to allow myself to see our failings before I can admit a need for improvement. The Bible provides ample material for the “how things need to be” side of the equation. Perhaps a lack of vision comes from a lack of deep meditation on the Word of God.

I’m trying to grow. I’m going to start digging into Ephesians. I want to know – how does Ephesians describe the church, or how the church needs to be? Then I need to ask? Where do we fall short.