Leadership Defined

In 1986, after years of thinking, I developed my definition of leadership:

Leadership is the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it towards goals of beneficial permanence that fulfill the group’s real needs.

– Haggai, Dr. John E, The Influential Leader: 12 Steps to Igniting Visionary Decision Making, copyright 2009, Harvest House Publishers: Eugene, Oregon, page 20

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Visionary Decision Making

I call this “Visionary Decision Making” because it makes a direct connection between the here and now and a leader’s deepest aims and aspirations.  It applies to decision making everywhere, from the home to the highest corporate boardroom.  It goes beyond simple goal setting.  It denotes a meticulous consistency between daily decisions and your answers to the question: “What is your life ultimately about?”

– Haggai, Dr. John E, The Influential Leader: 12 Steps to Igniting Visionary Decision Making, copyright 2009, Harvest House Publishers: Eugene, Oregon, page 16-17

The Heart of Leadership

Decision making sits at the heart of leadership.  In fact, leadership really boils down to a constant execution of decisions, big and small, day in, day out.  And the trail of decisions a leader leaves behind him charts the trajectory of his influence.

– Haggai, Dr. John E, The Influential Leader: 12 Steps to Igniting Visionary Decision Making, copyright 2009, Harvest House Publishers: Eugene, Oregon, page 15

What Leadership is Not

The first thing to say about leadership is this: Leadership frequently gets mistaken for other things.  “Too often, attempts to analyze leadership tend to fail because the would be analyst misconceives his task.  He usually does not study leadership at all.  Instead, he studies popularity, power, showmanship, or wisdom in long-range planning.”

So said the celebrated psychologist W.C.H. Prentice, writing for the Harvard Business Review. Prentice was right.  To his list of mistaken definitions of leadership, I could add many more: organizational acumen, administrative expertise, and sheer hard work.  All of these are important. But none addresses the subject of leadership.

Haggai, Dr. John E, The Influential Leader: 12 Steps to Igniting Visionary Decision Making, copyright 2009, Harvest House Publishers: Eugene, Oregon, page 7

What Will People Say About Your Life in Heaven?

What will people say about your life in heaven?  Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you?  And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?”

Daniel Webster once said, “The greatest thought that has ever entered my mind is that one day I will have to stand before a holy God and give an account of my life.”  He was right.

– Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, copyright 2008, page 174

Our View of the Holy Spirit is Too Small

Our view of the Holy Spirit is too small.  The Holy Spirit is the One who  changes the church, but we have to remember that the Holy Spirit lives in us.  It is individual people living Spirit-filled lives that will change the church (Ephesians 3:16).

– Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, copyright 2008, page 171

The Excuse of Awaiting God’s Call

Most of us use “‘I’m waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life” as a means of avoiding action.  Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television yesterday?  Or to go on your last vacation?  Or exercise this morning?  Probably not, but you still did it.  The point isn’t that vacations or exercise are wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment and priorities yet are slow to commit to serving God.

– Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, copyright 2008, page 169