Lemonade without Sugar is Just Sour (Part 2)

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, June 14, 2014 2 comments

by Nathan Buck

This post is a continuation of last Saturday’s post by Nathan Buck. Please read it, and then continue on with this one.

I am deeply troubled by leaders who hang on in the name of "legacy" and drag entire communities or businesses into a downward spiral trying to validate their own worth at retirement. I am deeply troubled by leaders who resist empowering and intentionally investing in younger leaders. I am deeply troubled by leaders that make younger leaders wait their turn, and make no effort to learn from what young leaders see and can do. I am deeply troubled by leaders who avoid honest feedback and evaluation from those who can see the impact of their decision from a different perspective.

It is very difficult to let someone else have power. It's even harder to give them authority and responsibility over something you care about. They might fail, they might take steps backward, or worse....they might succeed. Then who gets the credit? Will they still be teachable or even listen? Will we be cast aside for them? Oh, the many reasons why those in power fear empowering others.

In my early days as a leader I had some key leaders intentionally invest in me and launch me into leadership. Some thought it was too soon, others thought I was too naive, still others thought we would ruin ourselves and the ministry in the city we were in. Those key leaders launched me as a leader anyway, believing we should be free to do what God called us to do. By God's grace the wheels stayed on and we accomplished what God asked of us.

I was young and idealistic. I was not an easy person to be coached. My focus was razor sharp. Our learning curve was steep, and our leadership experience very minimal. We made mistakes, we hurt people, and we hurt ourselves. God's grace provided healing in each of those places. Among many other things, I learned the power of collaborative leadership, as I tapped the ideas, dreams, skills, and perspectives of those on the ministry teams. We grew and others grew as a direct result of the learning we all did together. All the while my mentors - those key leaders - stayed close, continued to invest in us, held us in the tough times, and cheered on every success. Their experience guided ours where necessary. Their freedom and support allowed God to call the shots and set up the lessons, as we dove into the deep end of our calling. They never pushed us toward their legacy, they let God establish HIS for us. As a result, we became a part of their legacy anyway.

I want to lead like that - to be a leader like Jesus. I want to empower others and get them rolling as soon as THEY are ready, not make them wait till I am ready for them to lead. I hope I maintain the courage to consistently do this – to resource and release others into their purpose and calling. I hope one day I can look back and see the generations of people leading in freedom and excited to raise up others. I don't ever want to have a healthy leader feel like I am in their way.

Like everyone, I struggle with “my turn to drive,” but not just in leadership. This is a parenting issue, a work issue, and a marriage issue. The "sugar" in leadership is the same as the "sugar" in all relationships, loving someone enough to lay aside our expectations, in order to help them walk free in God's calling.

I am still learning… how about you?

How are you doing with this? Is your family or your kids waiting on your heavy expectations to let up, so they can thrive in what God is calling them to? Are your friends waiting on you to let them “drive” once and a while? How about co-workers - are they waiting on you to make space for them at the table?

Examine Jesus' leadership. How can you sweeten your sphere of influence by empowering those around you? How can you intentionally move toward collaborative leadership, and relinquish your control? Are you waiting on someone else to get out of your way?

Bring the sugar; make lemonade from the sourness you feel. Love and respect is one key. Examine David's attitude toward Saul and Elisha's attitude toward Elijah. Let God orchestrate the transition, and commit yourself to lead like Jesus, and not out of a sense of control or lost time.


Charlie said...

I have personally seen the struggles of someone who held the reigns for too long. It nearly destroyed the organization when he died. Right now we do not know if it will survive or not. He was an amazing man of God and I have full respect for him. But he had his struggles and he had an opportunity to take the "mom and pop" ministry he started and take it global but he wanted direct control for too long. It was a weakness that had large rippling effects. But he was a powerful man of God whom without him, neither my family nor I would be in the position we are in today, serving God's Kingdom.

nathan buck said...

Charlie, been there man in ministryour and business. Painful to watch the awesome God stuff, big picture, and the competing selfish stuff.

A simple change of perspective, accountability, and some re-tooling can make all the difference, but we have to be willing. :-)