Are you a father or a snob?
This is a question I've been evaluating about myself, and I'm challenging myself to grow in leadership to be a father, not a snob. But this is also a question for everyone who has any kind of leadership or influence over others. In other words, this question is for everybody. No matter who you are, you are a leader (or you can be a leader, if you're willing to step up) in your own sphere.
As I wrote about before, I believe that THE biggest responsibility of leaders is developing other people. You have to develop people into who THEY are, too–not into a carbon copy of you. Not everybody will fit your mold, but everybody needs to grow. And as your people develop, they need to be promoted.
The problem is that many folks don't know how to develop and promote their people.
Even worse, those that do often fall into the trap of becoming a snob about it, instead of being a father. (Both men and women can be fathers, by the way. Being a father is a heart attitude. I strive to be a father, and I'm a female. That's ok. Fatherhood is a heart condition.)
So what are the differences between how a father leads and how a snob leads?
- A father sees the treasure in all his (or her) people. A snob sees the treasure only in his favorites, or in those whom he is under political pressure to favor. (I'll call those that are being promoted for political reasons “politicals” going forward. Yes, I know it's not a word, but work with me here.)
- A father works to develop all his people. A snob only works to develop his favorites or his politicals.
- A father gives opportunity to all his people, according to their giftings–even if he never thought they were gifted in that area. A snob gives opportunity only to those whom he has previously pegged for leadership, or his politicals.
Basically, a father cares about all his people.
A snob cares only about the ones he or she wants to care about. Additionally, fathers see opportunities as a sacred trust, meant to be provided to all people for the equipping and empowering of all. Snobs see opportunities as things under their control, meant to be handed out to their favorites, politicals, or to those with whom they want to garner favor.
Unfortunately, too often the business world is much better at fathering than the church world.
I work for a fabulous, Fortune 500 company. My boss there is wonderful about developing all her people. So are her bosses above her. It's corporate culture. Every boss I've ever worked for there, over the last 11+ years, has been fabulous about developing all of his or her people. The corporate world is big on fathering. That's why businesses are successful.
Yet, too often, the church has forgotten to father.
Oh, we raise people up. Sometimes we are great at it. I've seen leaders who are great fathers, and leaders who are … not-so-great.
The crux of the matter is this: when we raise people up, what kind of favoritism do we show?
- Do we help everybody find a mentor? Or do we only mentor our favorites, and leave everyone else to fend for themselves?
- Do we give everybody opportunity? … Or just a select few?
- Do we groom everybody to function in their gifting? Or do we focus our attention (and our opportunities) on our favorites, our politicals, the wealthy, etc?
We need EVERYONE, not just teachers, to step up and be fathers in their sphere of influence.
Everyone can be a father. We just have to decide: will we be fathers or snobs?
I'm challenging myself here.
I want to try to grow and develop everybody in my sphere of influence. I want to see them soar, and I want to give them wings as much as it's in my ability to do so. My sphere of influence is much smaller than some. Nevertheless, in that sphere, I want to focus on giving others opportunity to do what they do. I want to be a father, not a snob. It's time the church stepped up to fathering, and I can be a father within my world.
How about you? Do you want to be a father or a snob?
Assuming you choose the former, how can you start today to be a father in your sphere of influence?