A leadership lens on I Corinthians 13

March 8, 2017 | Viewpoints | Volume 21 Issue 6
Rick Neufeld |

What would the Apostle Paul say to leaders today? This was the question posed to participants at the recent Values-based Leadership Program that I attended. I offer one perspective of what Paul might be saying:

1. If I have the gift of wisdom and the ability to shape my words in eloquent sentences, but have not love, my words are just that: words.

2. If I have the gift of leadership and can implement all six thinking hats, if I’ve mastered all five leadership practices or eliminated all dysfunction from my team, but have not love, I am nothing.

3. If I build trust through helpful and healthy transparency, and provide all knowledge to the team, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4. The road to successful leadership is risky, but filled with patience. Love is humble and lifts others up. Love gives thoughtful responses and believes the best of others. Love seeks for all to be their best selves and rejoices in integrity.

5. Love can bear the weight. Love tells the truth and is the bedrock of trust. Love inspires a vision big enough to embrace us all but is focussed enough to pursue us to the very end.

6. When I was not a leader, I spoke as if I were not a leader, I understood as if I were not a leader, I thought as if I were not a leader. I did what was best for me or I just assumed I could not be a leader at all.

7. But when I became a leader, I knew that I could do it—I knew that we could do it. I put the team first and my own interests—and even doubts—second.

8. So now, accepting that leadership is always demanding, risky and complex, we move on in faith, humble in spirit and confident in our calling.

9. Still remain these foundations of leadership: trust—vision—love.

10. And the greatest of these is love!

Rick Neufeld is the director of Mennonite Church Manitoba’s leadership ministries.

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