Good leadership should move people. One doesn’t lead for the sake of doing so. We lead people to better people, to bring change, to engage what has fallen victim to inertia. Leaders are by definition those who motivate others to action.
This seems obvious, and it suppose it’s not the most subtle of insights regarding leadership, but it’s amazing how so many who occupy leadership positions possess such little ability to move and motivate other people. Think of sports. Many coaches can stand on the sidelines and yell at people. Many can draw up a play or make a recommendation. But not many can motivate. Not many can take a bad player and make him want to better his game. Not many can take a disinterested but talented player and get him to use his ability. In fact, I think that this is the surest test of coaching ability. Forget how well the talented and pre-motivated players play under the coach. Look at the guys who under a coach were underperforming, failing to produce, and discouraged. Watch them and see what they do. You can tell the good coaches from the bad not by how well the superstars play–they’re going to get 30 points or a touchdown no matter what. You can tell the good coaches (or bosses, office managers, pastors, etc) by how well the bench plays. Do guys come in the game and play tentatively? Do they look over their shoulder when they make a mistake? Do they pass up open opportunities to score? Players who have not been properly appreciated and motivated will fail in each of these areas. Bad or average coaches look at a bad or average player and see weakness. Good coaches see potential.
Phil Jackson of the L.A. Lakers is a great example of a coach who gets a ton out of players 1-12. Mike D’Antoni of the Phoenix Suns also coaxes production out of players other coaches bury on the bench. These coaches lead teams that are fun to watch, both from an entertainment and character standpoint. When people are rightly appreciated and encouraged, creation is in its rightful order. God is honored. Not in a salvific sense, but in a general sense. It is a beautiful thing to see players of all abilities honored and used. Same with the office. Same with the church. Same with the family. Christian men must be those who, like the Savior, lead men to be their best. With a combination of encouragement, correction, and instruction, we should lead our families, our churches, and our coworkers to be their best. The way to this end? A life and a ministry of speech that motivates. Be a motivating person to those around you. See what men could be, and help them to that end. Such is the way of the leader, and such is the way of the cross.