Occasionally I’ll find a book on leadership that I actually like, and like enough to recommend to people. Given that this is relatively rare, for reasons noted in my review of Radical Leadership: in the New Testament and Today, I want to highlight particularly one section. Leadership is something that, if nothing else should for Christians shape the way we arrange our lives. Leadership isn’t a lifestyle, but our lifestyle impacts our leadership and vice versa. Michael Green puts it well:
There is a tendency in modern government, and not only there, to say ‘We do not mind what you do in your discretionary time. we are interested in your doing your job properly. If your spare time activities prove a hindrance to your work you may be dismissed. But otherwise you are free to do what you want.’ I remember when Tony Blair came to power in the UK he told his cabinet that nobody would be sacked for fornication or marital infidelity so long as their work in government was not affected. The trouble with this attitude is that what we do in our leisure time shows what we really enjoy and what we are really like. That is a character matter, and it is sure to show in our professional life, sooner or later. Hence the very public scandals involving money, sex and lies which come to light with depressing regularity whatever party is in power. What we are speaks more loudly than what we do. We are called to be examples. We have to put our life where our mouth is. We must walk the talk. This is very demanding but it is an essential element in leadership, particularly Christian leadership. It is no good saying to our children ‘Now say your prayers before bed’ if they know that we never pray. It is no good saying ‘You must never tell a lie’ when they can say ‘But, dad, I heard you tell mum a great big whopper of a lie only yesterday’. Example is a crucial part of leadership.
I think this speaks for itself – ‘what we are speaks more loudly than what we do’.
But what do you think?