When following is actually leading

Three Wise MenThere is a powerful image that each of us have of the Three Wise Men kneeling at the manger in Bethlehem. These men have been known in song as “kings”. You remember the song, don’t you?

“We three kings of Orient are . . .”

Now, whether or not they really were kings is not a matter that I care to debate today. They were probably more likely some sort of religious or scholarly leader from distant lands. The point for me to make is that they were recognized leaders of some sort or another. And the image that we have of them from Christmas pageants over the years is an image of them arriving and kneeling at the manger and presenting their gifts.

But integral to the story is the fact they were also “followers”. They followed a star. And that star led them to the Baby Jesus. Let’s say it again. These leaders were also followers. Had they not been willing to put their own agendas and egos aside and become followers, they would have missed the single most important event in all of human history.

Here is the leadership trait that I want to emphasize today. Great leaders must be willing to become great followers from time to time. And the paradox of leadership is that we are really both simultaneously. And when we cease to be a follower, we cease to be effective as a leader. And the result of following that star provided these three men with an experience that was transformational and one that needed to be communicated to others.  So, according to Biblical records, these three leaders returned to their homes by a different route to avoid King Herod who was bent on destroying the baby who had been born to be the real One to follow.

What about you? Have you shown an ability to follow as well as lead?

And are you following someone or something worthy of being followed?

4 Replies to “When following is actually leading”

  1. Thank you Kevin for inviting me to be a part of an important conversation not only to daily family life, but everyday occupational, and church life. A position Paul in Romans 12.8, “if it isleadership, let him govern diligently”. Question is…is the gene pool going dry?

    I just completed an interesting class “Psychology”. It was more fun than I thought, I aced it. Yes I was cas shocked as you are!

    Leadership is certianly becoming a lost craft. I like many of you ask WHY!

    Here is an enlightening abstract I’ll share with you from the University of Minnesota.

    A sample of 646 male twins (331 monozygotic or identical, 315 dizygotic or fraternal
    twins) completed a survey indicating their leadership role occupancy in work settings.
    Data on these individuals were also available for personality and cognitive variables. As
    predicted, two personality variables (Social Potency and Achievement) and a cognitive
    variable (a vocabulary test) were significantly correlated with the leadership variable.
    Subsequently, univariate and multivariate genetic analyses showed that a substantial
    portion of this leadership variance was accounted for by genetic factors (39 percent)
    while non-shared (or non-common) environmental factors accounted for the remaining
    variance in this leadership variable. Genetic influences were shown for the personality
    and cognitive factors as well. Finally, results indicated that the genetic influences for the
    leadership factor were substantially associated with or common with the genetic factors
    influencing the personality factors but not with the cognitive variable.

    After you digest the information please provide feedback.

    In His Grace,

    For4 more info on the abstract please follow the following link; http://www.legacy-irc.csom.umn.edu/RePEC/hrr/papers/1302.pdf

    1. Wayne, that is quite an interesting abstract. How about writing a guest article on the topic as described in the abstract? Perhaps once your arm is all healed up?

  2. You see after that post by Wayne. The book A Brave New World now makes sense or was it The Lord of the Flies?
    In all seriousness, I, too, extend an invitation to write an article.

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