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Over the course of Thanksgiving Weekend, I had the chance to watch some of the HBO series Band of Brothers. Not only does this series show the most amazing showmanship of courage and honor, but it also teaches us respect and leadership. Sadly, in the time we live in, the idea of honor/respect is, tragically, dissipating … dying.

Anyway, as I watched the series, there was a scene where 2nd Lt. Carwood Lipton was commenting on 1st Lieutenant Norman Dike – and his leadership.    (You see, 1st Lt. Norman Dike was in charge, someone, who was higher in rank, put him there to build his front-line experience.) The problem was, he was NEVER around; he would be gone for hours on end, and when a battle occurred, he would stay in his foxhole the entire time. (Hence his name “Foxhole Norman”).  Second Lt. Carwood Lipton said, “Lt. Dike wasn’t a bad leader because he made bad decisions, he was a bad leader because he made no decisions”.

As soon as I heard that – it struck me: there are now two leadership facets you have to battle. The first – being a leader who makes poor decisions constantly, but, because of your job position, you remain the leader. The second battle, is being a leader strictly by title, because there is nothing worse than trying to follow someone who makes NO decisions. That, my friend, is the scariest leader!

I would rather be a leader who made poor decisions – but learned from them, than a leader who made no decisions at all.  However, the question remains – “Are you a leader who will be able to think on his feet in the heat of the moment, or will you “freeze” and choose to do nothing?

Reflect back on the past events, peaks of your job, and evaluate yourself – “Did  you make good choices, poor choices, or no choices”.

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As a leader it is easy to get swept away by future ideas and the BIG picture of it all and to get excited over the newest and coolest of toys/applications for our computers or ministries or other leader related toys. And in that time when we get caught up there is a moment that we forget to communicate with those who we are trying to lead.

With Thanksgiving and X-mas approaching so quickly it may be wise (if you haven’t already) to slow down a pinch and simply write down what you are thankful for with those you are leading. You can do it separately and/or collectively, but my encouragement is to do this so that you don’t get caught up in what’s to come rather than appreciating what’s already here.

So as you go through your Holiday(s) be sure to not forget those who helped you become who you are today. I try as best as possible to end my blogs with quotes, the reason being is whatever you just said someone else out there said it better and sure enough I found that quote:

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

At some point, most leaders start doing ministry out of habit and stop doing ministry out of imagination. They start repeating the past and stop creating the future. And most ministries stop taking the risks that got them to where they are. They start playing defense.

(Side note: the greater your leadership gifts – the greater the danger. You’re so good at what you do, that you can stop growing and maintain, instead of increase your measure of influence; but that will never help you reach your God-given potential. It’s so easy to become comfortable. It’s so easy to live in the past. It’s so easy to keep doing it the way it’s always been done.)

I’m not exactly sure how to say this, but the blessings of God are dangerous. They can lead toward pride and complacency. That is when the blessings of God backfire. So my question to you is, as you evaluate either your ministry, or your business, or the people you lead, “Are you setting the example or just reusing the same example with a new title?”  Are we thinking outside the box we have put ourselves in and making mistakes so that we can become better? No one has arrived; and no one should assume that the events, lesson plans and activities are the best they can be –  because there is ALWAYS a different, a better way of doing things.

“I would rather have my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.”

– Howard Hendricks Teaching to Change Lives

The practice of being deceitful is one I don’t think we realize how often we do. There are times we make that conscious decision: we choose to be someone we are not. What is scary, however, is that when we become the person we desires others to see, we have stopped being the person God created us to be. As Christians we rant and throw around the terms like, “be real” or “be transparent” – which are all well and good; but shamelessly and openly sharing who you are is oftentimes too scary to think about – let alone be. I’m reminded of the movie Powder (1995), when during a conversation with a girl, he said this, about having an ideal conversation with someone,

“… And that there’s no need to hide, or lie. And that it’s possible to talk to someone without any lies, with no sarcasms, no deceptions, no exaggerations or any of the things that people use to confuse the truth.”

This is so well said. The bigger truth is: when did our fears become greater than joys; or more important yet, bigger than our God? A challenge for this week would be to identify the times when you see yourself putting on a façade, and take a small step to confront those fears with Scripture, or by making a choice – or both. The enemy wants nothing more than fearful and complacent followers of Christ.

Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

There are so many leadership lessons in this short clip. However, the one that sticks out the most to me is…respect. William Wallace had respect for the people and for his leaders (whether he agreed with them or not). And it made me think, “Do I have that sort of respect towards those around me and the people I work with?” Also, another attribute of leadership that I saw in this clip was the way William Wallace was able to lead his leaders above him and he did so with love and humility. He told his “to-be king” that he would follow him if he would just lead! Wow powerful.

So the question begs itself, “Do I give that same love and humility or am I after the look and prestige of it all?” I want my character to show more than my comfort, however, in reality my comfort slowly takes precedence if I don’t keep it in check. So how’s your leadership?