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Last week I Tweeted “Leadership: getting others to fear you is easy, if not lazy. Getting people to like you and inspiring them to follow is truly remarkable”.

When we think of leaders, we think of someone strong, decisive, disciplined and able compel others to follow. But all too often, people are in a position of leadership merely because they’ve become skilled at controlling others through fear tactics.

There is a big difference between being a dictator and being a great leader. It’s easy to act out of fear or anger, make demands, be disrespectful and to treat others as if they are inferior. This is the characteristic of the weak and undisciplined. This is the way of the dictator.

True leadership requires someone to truly know the people and understand both their potential and their struggles. It requires a leader to exhibit copious amounts of patience. You must be a peace with the process of the journey. You must be a dedicated problem solver and resilient to abuse and rejection. Leadership isn’t easy; it’s worthy.

When someone makes you angry, it’s easy to just react, rather than to act deliberately. Acting deliberately requires self-control and resilience.

Someone that demands obedience and controls others through fear is a weak. Their fight is for their own gain, rather than those they lead. Someone willing to exhibit patience and endure the struggle to come to a peaceful and mutually beneficial conclusion is an example of true leadership.

It’s rare to find a leader with the patience of Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa. They did not think or act in short term or self-serving solutions. They made daily, sacrificial, deliberate installments towards long term peace. In fact, many people condemned and persecuted them for their methodologies due to their lack of short-term results.

The best leaders are those that earned their way into leadership by being the most dedicated servants. And they continue to earn it every day. They never have to demand obedience. They simply lead by example to the extent that those around them are inspired to follow.

The purpose of leadership is to inspire, guide, discover, create and foster peace. It’s impossible to achieve these goals as a dictator. To be a true leader, one must, at their core, be a dedicated servant. From there you will find the wisdom to lead those inspired to follow you.

3 Comments

  1. Joseph Lalonde on June 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    That’s right! Leadership is about inspiration and serving others.

  2. Ashley on June 1, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    It’s interesting to think of this when it comes to your children. Essentially, you want to lead them to greatness. But how easy is it to simply become a dictator to control the emotional mood swings of a developing toddler? I think raising children with respect and honor means truly serving, respecting and honoring them as well. I want to inspire my kids, not break them down. That’s not always easy to do when they tend to be the most outspoken, spirited kids in the room!

  3. Jen McDonough on June 3, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Jared,
    Your posts inspiration us readers to live out a courageous life of service – for that, I thank you!

    I love Ashely’s comment and had to chuckle.

    As a mom of four awesome kids, I really try to inspire, guide, discover, create and foster peace while instilling them the belief that each of our kids are OUR WORLD, yet they are here to serve in this world by letting God lead their lives and that by doing so they will do INCREDIBLE THINGS and BE AMAZING people.

    Thanks again Jared. You and your wife are in our prayers for your new arrival. May your family have an incredibly blessed future!
    Jen

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