Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Walls and Borders and Two Paths of Leadership

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Talk of walls and borders has me thinking.

It should have us all thinking.

There are two ways to lead.

1. From the front

This is leadership that demands and orders. It's the stereotypical drill sergeant and the chemistry teacher at the front of the room. Barking orders or demanding the memorization of formulas without explanation. No excuses. Do or die (or fail). Top-down. Transactional.

This is leadership. There is influence. For a time. Until the position is gone and the authority is taken away. Like chains off a prisoner, people run as far away from this sort of leadership and it's brutal and abusive nature as fast they possibly can.

There is a better way.

2. From the back

This is leadership that seeks to influence through trust and empowerment. It encourages people where they are to take new steps of faith and risk. Failure is an option. Improvement and performance is a journey. And there is hope and joy there.

And this sort of leadership does not require a position of authority or a title.

Lead by doing. Lead by letting others do.

Leadership is about trust. Leadership is about knocking down walls, more than it is about building walls. (Even when the job is about building a wall. See Nehemiah.)

We knock our fists against the walls that wall us off from brothers.

Give them to hear us.

Give us to hear the terrible needs that beat like hearts behind brother’s walls.
— Fredrich Buechner