I used to work under a charismatic leader. He was smart. Handsome. Always smiling. A “visionary.” And he knew ways to connect with people. He spearheaded new initiatives and new programs and then managed them.
The problem is when he left, all the initiatives, programs, projects, AND people were gone as well. Everything he created vanished! It was like he was never there.
Granted, he had leadership problems to contend with–the person over him wasn’t focused on growth. And since an organization will only go as far as its leader will take it, he couldn’t go as far as he wanted to.
After a while he got tired of banging his head against a “bronze” ceiling and left.
The problem with charismatic leaders is that WHATEVER they create leaves with them.
This is in stark contrast to being a leader of purpose.
Charismatic leaders tell the time; leaders of purpose build clocks. They understand their why.
Don’t get me wrong: nothing’s wrong with charisma. But “larger than life” leaders are over-emphasized. A true leader is someone who can build or rebuild something that will outlast them.
The differences between a charismatic leader (CL) and a leader of purpose (LOP) are as follows:
CL: Are the “heart” of an organization.
LOP: Build the heart of an organization.
CL: Recruit followers
LOP: Recruit and raise up leaders.
CL: Secure power for themselves
LOP: Give power away to other competent leaders.
CL: When they leave, move, or die the organization falters.
LOP: When they leave, move, or die the organization prospers.
For instance: look at king Saul and king David from the Bible. David spent the remainder of his life preparing his successor, while Saul didn’t. SO when David died Israel prospered without him. Unlike Saul, when he died his dynasty lagged “and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” (2 Samuel 3:1 NKJV)
You are a leader.
Whether you have a title or not, you’ve been given some level of influence. You’re here to make some sort of difference.
Jesus said it best:
Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth…Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)
As that leader, your job is to build something that outlives you. Why? Simple. All the success in the world means nothing if it crumbles after you are gone.
What kind of difference will you make?
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