#5: Wanting to Please People
The church today is in a major vision crisis (if you don’t believe this, just tour the churches in your community.) One of the key things driving the crisis in vision is leaders who won’t stick to the best course of action largely because they are afraid of angering people.
In fact, many leaders simply want to be liked by the people they serve. We simply don’t anyone to be angry at us. And the best way (in the short term) to avoid people’s anger is to do what they tell you. The problem is that in leadership, leaders need to lead. And agreeing to what everyone at large wants to do is not leadership. That’s followership. Particularly when people’s ideas about the future are different from each other and often fundamentally incompatible.
Ironically, when people pleasing becomes your chief goal, you end up with an ineffective mission plus a group of angry and/or ineffective people. They get angry because the mission isn’t accomplishing anything, and in the end, the very people you were trying to please by saying "yes" end up mad at you anyway. So not only are you not further ahead, you are actually further behind.
Leadership takes secure leaders. Leaders who are not afraid to take a few hits — who have the guts to take the best idea and run with it even if it’s not the most popular at first. Great ideas have a way, over time, of winning converts. Most of the eventual converts need to see the idea become reality and succeed though, before they’ll endorse it. Enter the job of the leader.
Leaders always need to lead with humility…this is far from justification for a big power trip. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It means we need to submit to God at a whole new level. But usually, leaders will grasp a sense of the wisest or best course to take…it’s just that sometimes we lack the courage to take it That’s where reliance on God needs to kick into a whole new gear. He can give grace and courage when everyone else has withdrawn theirs. And that is powerful.
As a leader, there are seasons where I need to motivate myself with a single thought: I really believe God is in this, and even though it’s not popular, I’m going to commit myself to it because I honestly believe that down the road, the entire group will be grateful we got there.
What part of this resonates with you (if any)? How’s your courage? Who are you trying to please? What might you do to overcome it?