Your risk is my risk – Lessons from the military

One of the things I love about leadership insights is how often they translate from one context to another really well, for example from the military to the church.  Of course, for those of us who are followers of Jesus we have to test what we find against the bible.  However, it should not surprise us when we discover that a great leadership principle was in the bible in the first place.

Colonel Eric G Kail has posted a great article over at the HBR Blog about leadership and risk.  Here are the headings, with some of my thoughts on each, but for the full picture see the original article.

Not everyone is prepared to lead in risky environments

Leadership is nearly always tough, but leading a church is very tough.  Naturally the risks are very different to those faced by people in armed services.  However, there is a cost to Christian leadership and the reality that things blow up sometimes.  If we are too risk averse there is a chance that when it comes to making tricky decisions we will put ourselves before the people we lead.  That is not servant leadership.  Leading at a high level, where the risk is greater is not for everyone.

You’ve got to have ‘skin’ in the game

The point here is about being involved and not trying to lead in a remote way.  Are we sharing the risks with the people we are leading.  This is really another way of talking about incarnational leadership, modelled by Jesus.

Character matters

While we can train and equip people for all kinds of different circumstances they may face, and indeed we should, rarely does a situation perfectly fit the mould and turn out exactly as in the practice.  In reality what counts is character, which results in a person making a good choice even when they are in uncharted territory.  Of course, much of the instruction of the bible is about our character in one way or another, with some passages, such as the verses about the fruit of the Spirit, completely focused on it.

How are you handling risk in your leadership?

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