Thursday, March 23, 2006

::Credentialed Leadership::

Leadership without influence is not really leadership at all.

There does seem to be a huge cluttered mess of principles, values, how-to’s, models, and their opposites found stuck like duct-tape and hyphens in the rapidly expanding cosmics of leadership. Leadership, though a mass money maker and much sought after position, very well could be boiled down to a few bare essentials and elements that support this appetizing infrastructure. So, upon setting your stove element to high and placing leadership in a boiling pot of water, we are left with the leadership nutrient named influence.

Influence has maybe been poorly portrayed by the four p’s of peer pressure, persuasion, and power. Not that it doesn’t take a certain amount of influence to accomplish each of these goals…it is just that they are simply that; goals. Sex is a goal. Money is a goal. Career advancement is a goal. Leadership is a goal. No matter how many goals there happens to be on this dusty little planet, it does take a certain amount of personal influence to achieve those goals. If leadership is a goal then influence is all the hard work that helped you score (cf with above examples).

It is true that we can, on occasion and maybe more often then not, find ourselves in a position of leadership. Positional leadership means nothing; just because you have a title and a role to play does not mean that you are a leader. Without influence leadership is futile, frustrating, and potentially fatal for both the organization and the “leader”. It has been my experience that influence, and its by-product leadership, develops and matures at the same rate as credibility.

Credibility allows for influence. All the letters behind your name, titles under your name, and your name on a list of approved, credentialed, professional societies do not really mean a whole heck of a lot to people who don’t know what the letters mean, hold the titles as suspect authority, and simply don’t care about your professional organization. Credibility beginning in relationship is nurtured in trust and compounds in the slowness of history; this is living life together. Credibility breeds influence.

If we must lead, then we must lead from the depths of credibility and nothing else.

28 comments:

Jesse said...

Jer, have you been reading Maxwell lately? He writes quite a bit along the vein that you're writing.

One cool truism that he wrote is "if no one is following you, you are not leading".

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

Credentialed or credible? Are they the same.

Another truism about leadership:
"If you're getting crapped on, you're at the wrong end of the sheep."

tommy : s said...

Speaking as someone with little in the way of "paper credentials", but being led into places of huge influence by God, I am of course encouraged by your comments. "Appointed leaders" without influence totally annoy me - and there are many of them in the large corporations of the day wasting resources and destroying lives. Time worked in a company, with education, does not qualify you for leadership .. management peut etre.

I am glad that most successful blue chip CEO's recognise that "bottom-up" or "servant" leadership works, autocracy sucks. Not sure where that leaves Mr Trump ;) Effective pastors should recognise this all the more shouldn't we?

Credentials are very very good things. Unbalanced reliance on them as qualification for leadership is not quite the Jesus model now is it?

Mark said...

Is leadership a goal? Or a result? Do we reach leadership or is it biotic? do we walk into leadership, develop leadership or does leadership occur when the soil and seed bed of our lives are culitvated and tilled into a garden in which peopled lives can be inspired by. One step ahead you are a leader... Two steps ahead you are a martyr. Is appointed leadership ever a good thing?

Jesse said...

I've rarely seen appointed leadership be a good thing. More times then not appointed leaders only last for a short time before they realize that they'd rather just be part of the crowd.

I do think you can develop leaders, but there must be something to "work with". I think it's amazing when you see leadership potential in someone, and then you find ways to encourage and see them mature into not just being a leader, but being a mentor who is looking for other potential leaders to rise up. I think that could be a powerful thing.

Anonymous said...

Seems some deleting has been happening by the BLOG owner! Whats up with that?
I was researching the post on God's purpose for our lives, or lack of, and had a great theory!

Jeremy Postal said...

Anonymous
Hope you found the research interesting. I'd love to hear your theory...come by my office or catch up with me somewhere along the way. Other then that, the post was purely administrative.

I'm just trying to keep you on your toes!

The Drew said...

"Credentials are very very good things. Unbalanced reliance on them as qualification for leadership is not quite the Jesus model now is it?" - Tommo

I wonder if Jesus lead from his credentials "Son of God" or from his credibility in the leadership world?

"Is appointed leadership ever a good thing?" - Mark

Is appointed leadership always a bad thing? Haven't there been good leaders who have been appointed? There is no doubt that leaders who lead from credibility are effective however even these can turn out to be bad leaders. Do you think Hitler lead (or was influential) from his credibility with the leaders and people of Germany? or did he lead from his position? I wonder if there needs to be both?

Mark said...

I think Hitler may not be the best example to draw from for leadership examples. Not to say he didn't lead ... but might be an example of how not to lead...but in saying that there are many leaders today in the church [and out] who are good examples of how not to lead.
I woudl probably try to frame it this way ... As soon as we try to lead from the seat of position we have already missed the boat. Is it important... yes but it is not what will make us quality leaders. Leadership is about the one just as it is about the many. Position and Appointment are completely meaningless without the many. Lead from the Quantum perspective [the few and the one [smallest] are where the power lies] and we might discover some valuable lessons on qulaity leadership.
What is it that makes a leader successful? I woudl suggest its not the credentials or the credibility but the fact that they have made themself disposable.

Jeremy Postal said...

Mark - what do mean by "disposable"? I have a tendancy not to agree with that statement...with some clarification I might agree.

Mark said...

For lack of a better word... I used disposable... WE over use terms like empowerment and releasing ministry. Put it this way... how long will ministry/work continue without you there... that is a good indicator of how well you have either created a dependancy on yourself... or created an atmosphere in which people can lead.

Mark said...

There is a very fine lline in the above statement...hopefully we can figure it out.

The Drew said...

I agree Mark that Hitler is not the best example for leadership, but that brings up the question, what makes a good leader? Is it influence? Is the goal of leadership to be disposable?

Jeremy Postal said...

Mark - Because a term is "overused" does not mean that it irrelevant...potentially WE have not overused it so much as YOU have overused it?!;) Anyhow, I can see disposable leadership in the realm of developing leaders so that what you currently do will continue and prosper, however, this is where disposable breaks down somewhat. As we develop leaders and our current leadership task(s) become others our role changes and morphes into something different. Different does not mean disposable. The cue I get when I hear pastor's say (and I know Mark this is not what you are saying) "My goal is to work myself out of a job" is a) You've never been effective in leadership development, or b) You are a total rookie.

Andrew - What makes a good leader? I would say that it is not influence that make s a good leader. Influence makes a leader; the quality of that leadership may be judged by the results/effects of that influence.

Jesse - I've not read much of Maxwell; any suggestions?

Mark said...

Empowering... Releasing are terms used by many leaders who are not doing such things... thus my reason to use another term... but irregardless my hope is that we as leaders develop something that will live beyond us.
Jer you are right ...when we make statements like ' I want to work myself out of a job' we are already making a positional leadership statement... so if you are a leader...is leadership something you can not do? Can you walk away from leading... or is it something that wherever we go whatever we do we are leaders? Once a leader always a leader? IS there a such a thing as irrevocable leadership? Or Irreplacable leaders?

Mark said...

PS... I try to make it my goal to boycott the Maxwell Machine. Let me write countless books on my perspective of what a leader is and sell them to the world as the bible on Leadership and make loads of cash at the same time. LOL JJ

Jeremy Postal said...

"so if you are a leader...is leadership something you can not do? Can you walk away from leading... or is it something that wherever we go whatever we do we are leaders? Once a leader always a leader?" -Mark

That's a great point and maybe part of my resentment to people calling me an "emerging leader" or "new young leader" or whatever.....I've been leading since kindergarden and probably will keep leading throughout my lifetime.

Mark said...

Yip ... I echo that same thought... In many peoples eyes emerging leader means I am 'not there yet.' So how do we respond [in leadership] to the misappropriates opinions or perspectives of well meaning but misguided people? Duh? So what is 'there'?

Jesse said...

"PS... I try to make it my goal to boycott the Maxwell Machine. Let me write countless books on my perspective of what a leader is and sell them to the world as the bible on Leadership and make loads of cash at the same time."

LOL, yah do it!! :) I've actually never ready any of Maxwell's books, however I know that there were a huge resource for Lorraine's Leadership Development material, while she was doing Leadership Development at Alexis Park Church.

Jer I think think that's amazing that you've been leading through so many areas of your life! For me it's been totally opposite, I was nothing close to a leader until I was included in our leadership team in my youth group growing up. (I'm still not totally sure why my youth pastor did that!) That led to a very gradual growth towards my own sense of what it means for me to be a leader. Although, I'm still not sure if I've gotten even close to figuring that quite out yet! People's expectations of what a leader is, or what a leader "looks like" can sometimes get in the way for someone like me who's not the "center of attention" kind of person. (That being a stereotype of a leader in my opinion)

Jesse said...

So I guess I've moved from both positional/ appointed leadership to a more relational/ influential leader.

Boomer said...

"maybe part of my resentment to people calling me an "emerging leader" or "new young leader" or whatever.....I've been leading since kindergarden and probably will keep leading throughout my lifetime." Jer

I think that the defensive stance need not be taken here. I don't people see you or emerging leaders as people who are just now emerging as leaders, but people who are "leaders of the emerging."
You have clearly been leading all along, but your generation takes a different shape than that of the past. Just a thought...

Phil said...

yes, yes alot of good thought on this topic however what is the real question my veiw of leadership seems to change with the new word, (emerging, courageous, poet gardner) what ever it may be. but really is it just boil down to who you are. i might not be able to lead the people jess lead or the ones mark, paul, or jeremy because they might no buy me or really even like me. or i might not like them. but it goes both ways the people i am leading follow me because they can relate to me. this is not on a personal level but if they here me or see me they may say to themselves that is a guy i could go with. we all all leaders what is greater then the other we jsut just to find our style and be who we are is this right or is it jsut a load of crap. see me i'll probable have a differnt view by the end of the day

Phil said...

i'm Dyslectic, so excuse the

Mark said...

Boomer - its not defensive but a key for a proper understanding of the terms being used and what they mean [see post on COTM and percieved values].

Also - could it be there are such things as spheres of leadership. We lead in certain spheres but when we step out of those shperes we are not leading?

Boomer said...

Can you explain that thought a little more Mark? Are you implying that we all have a certain area of leadership, that we specialize in, or a group of people of who we lead, or is that the wrong idea all together?

Anonymous said...

all leaders need to be led! mark, you are right in saying we can have spheres of leadership, yet at some point we all need to follow

Mark said...

An area that we lead easier in and/or we are quickly recognized as a leader... Its a thought I am trying to formulate.

z said...

Paul you said "i might not be able to lead the people jess lead or the ones mark, paul, or jeremy because they might no buy me or really even like me."

But isn't it our job as leaders to relate to people? Jesus leadership wasn't limited by whether people related to him or not. People followed him because he taught truth with authority. I know in my life that every time I havn't been able to relate to people it's been because of my pride; I kept thinking I was so different than other people when really we're all in the same boat. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there should be a way to relate to anyone and everyone on some level.