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We Are All Leaders

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We Are All Leaders

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The company I work for is the most valuable company on earth, measured in terms of the total value of its shares on the stock exchanges of the world. It has significant presence in twenty-six major world trade categories, with the objective of being number one or number two in each. If the company, after a reasonable period of time and effort, is unable to reach either of those positions and sees no prospect of doing so, then a decision is made to withdraw and invest its resources of finance and people into another business where it can be the best.

The philosophy of striving to be the best has driven the company from being a good company in the mid-eighties to its preeminent position today, but the principal reason for its rise has been leadership. The term "manager" is not widely used in the company, the preferred term being "leader." A team-based approach is used to come up with solutions to business challenges, and the leaders of those teams are not necessarily senior people. An employee who comes up with an idea considered worthy of implementation or further investigation will be the leader of the team chosen to work on the idea, and members of the team may come from positions hierarchically higher or lower than the leader.

Our company's use of the team-leader concept where leaders are chosen for initiative rather than seniority has produced obvious growth in many individuals and we have seen them marked for greater responsibilities in the future. After the project is finished the leader generally returns to his or her normal routine, but you can be sure the enthusiasm generated will inspire that person to look for other opportunities, either as a leader or team member. Such individuals have also left an example for others to emulate.

Too often we look upon seniority and leadership as being synonymous but they are not. One can hold a senior position but still not be an effective leader. Conversely, one can be in a position of little status but provide effective leadership without any of the trappings of power and influence. Timothy, a young, inexperienced minister, was instructed by the Apostle Paul, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:12,16). One doesn't doubt that Timothy followed that direction and led by example.

For many of us, the opportunity to exercise leadership by right of position or seniority may never come but we each do have the opportunity to lead by example in our families, in our congregations, in the work place and in the community at large. As the employee who leads by example is identified by the boss as someone with potential to take on more responsibility, so God the Father and Jesus Christ take note of our example. We all desire that They are well pleased with what they see in us and that They look forward to giving us more responsibility in the age to come.