The Top-Down Leader

As leadership is situational, demanding different styles for different contexts, we have all at one time been led by a leader whose primary leadership style is that of a dictator. In the church world, we call this “apostolic leadership” in that they know all the answers due to special insight and position.

You see top-down leaders think that are they bigger than they areand the more they know, then the more they think they should control others.

We can easily point fingers at the other people, but don’t we all suffer from dictatorship desires at some level?

There is something within us all that wants the control. Whether it is our perfectionism, a fear of failure, or our love of power.

This is nothing new and was seen at The Fall when man sinned as a result of Satan’s enticing words, “You will be like God” (Gen 3:5). Though made in God’s likeness, the man and woman chose to change their relationship from one of dependency towards God to independence, personal power, & control.

Yet we know that Christ calls us to the very opposite through the servant’s approach; one that emphasizes team, facilitation, collaboration, and community.

In reflecting on the words of Christ we are reminded:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25)

Leadership is servanthood…but how well are we really serving? Some hard questions to sift through:

  • Do you think you alone have all the answers for your organization?
  • Do you think you know what is best because you were there first or the longest?
  • Are you unable to let go of things you call “your baby”?
  • Do you find yourself reversing decisions on a consistent basis?
  • Do you keep your team in the dark about important decisions that affect them?
  • Are you not giving others room to make their mark in the organization?

~ by Dave Smith on April 12, 2008.

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