Follow to Lead!
By Pavle Trajkovski
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1, ESV)
I grew up as a PK (a pastor’s kid, for those not familiar with the abbreviation), and throughout my childhood I was constantly reminded that I needed to be a role model for other children. Needless to say, I didn’t like this responsibility. Growing up, I often found myself in situations where I was considered a leader, either formally elected or chosen by unspoken consent. As flattering as that may have been, I was never comfortable with this role. I felt that too much was expected of me. Let’s be real, we do expect a whole lot from leaders. They must be honest, confident, committed, self-aware, full of empathy, good communicators, humorous, able to self-regulate, delegate, motivate, inspire, uplift, encourage, withstand…. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, walking on water and turning water into wine ended up on the list of the “top-ten-qualities-a-leader-must-posses.”
"Growing up, I often found myself in situations where I was considered a leader, either formally elected or chosen by unspoken consent. As flattering as that may have been, I was never comfortable with this role. "
So why do we expect so much from such a person? Is the leader really so important? Does the leader’s personality really generate so much influence?
SO WHY DO WE EXPECT SO MUCH FROM SUCH A PERSON?
I am reminded of a Youtube video that I watched last summer. It is an amateur video, most probably taken with a smartphone, and it shows a shirtless guy, hilariously dancing on a grassy field, in front of a bunch of uninterested spectators. His audience is sitting and lying around on the grass in a setting that seems to be an outdoor music festival. The video is narrated by Derek Sivers, a relatively famous entrepreneur. The narrator acts as a commentator of what is seen in the video—a live example of how a movement is formed. In the beginning, the shirtless guy is all alone and his dancing makes him look weird, to say the least. Very soon, however, he is joined by another guy, the first follower, who imitates his ridiculous dance moves. Soon after that, still another guy also joins in. The three of them start to look like a crowd. Quickly, another guy jumps up, and then a guy and girl, and then three more people, then half a dozen more, then about ten more, and so it continues. At that point, the people who were just watching start to realize that the impromptu open-air dance-floor is ‘the place to be,’ and remaining seated on the grass is no longer ‘cool.’ Within less than three minutes, almost everyone on the field was a part of the party. A movement was formed.
"Yes, it takes courage to be the lonely guy with a novel idea that almost everyone finds odd. "
The narrator of the video explains that credit for the creation of the movement is mostlydue to the first follower.
Yes, it takes courage to be the lonely guy with a novel idea that almost everyone finds odd. It wasn’t before the first follower joined that this idea had any real impact. It was the joint effort of the leader and the first follower that attracted the second follower. From then on, the influence and the numbers grew with geometric progression.
What I learned from this example is that perhaps being an influential leader is actually all about being a follower. Instead of putting a lot of pressure on leaders, maybe we should just start seeing them as followers. We should accept God as the only leader. He is, in fact, endowed with every conceivable quality and skill that makes a good leader. He is the perfect role model. Humans, as His stewards, are just followers. Their purpose is to attract the attention of others. By imitating Him, they inspire others to join the dance, and the numbers grow and the crowd becomes bigger! I can’t help but wonder what it will be like when we all join that never-ending heavenly party. What a dance that will be!