The JOY of Leadership

I often tell my classes that leadership is hard work. I may have to change that, because I fear that what the hear is "leadership is hard why woulod anyone want to engage in it?" This past weekend I came across the book Courage & Calling by Gordon Smith. One of his themes is that we should find joy in our work - not just because it is fun and easy, but because it "is a central expression of what it means to be a Christian believer, a critical aspect or component of our spirituality" (p.22). If our vocation is a call from God...and God has called us into that work at this place and time...and we believe that God gifts each of us to do that work...then we should be finidng great joy in what we do. That seems to make sense.

I asked a colleague of mine recently how he was enjoying what he did. His response seemed to indicate that while he rather be doing something else, he would keep doing this particular role because there was no one else to do it at this time. That seems to me a weak response to why one engages in a particular vocation. Unless one finds joy in their leadership, they will be less than effective as a leader. They will see people as obstacles to getting things done...they will see opportunities for growth as yet something else they have to do...they will look at the institution they lead as a place that keeps them from fully living...and they will regret any time spent away from friends or family, causing heartache and pain for themselves, their family, and their institution as a whole.

If you are in a position of leadership, how do you feel about it? As you look at the leaders around you, how do you think they feel about their role? If there is "no joy in Mudville," it may to time to ask why, and explore the reasons behind it. There should be joy in one's vocation, and if in one's leadership there is no joy, then perhaps it is time to consider another calling...which takes courage...which shall be a topic for another time.