Another man, who was actually one of the “heads of family,” was a kinder man, who didn’t have the experience of the leader, but had a greater compassion of the travelers. The other families, even while knowing he had lesser experience regarding the "trail," were willing to follow him, over the original designated leader.
As the movie progressed, the “authoritative” leader was dealt some life circumstances where he required compassion, and when he reached a place he was ready to give up, the travelers, including the “new chosen leader” made the decision to allow the leader they were paying, to again take the lead. His own grief, helped him see beyond himself and become the leader he was meant to be!
Being a leader can be challenging. There are different opinions as to which is better: the leader who is loved or the one who is feared. Fear can work, and intensify the adrenalin of those fighting for the “prize.” On the other hand, the leader who is loved, can also create an adrenalin rush from the workers beneath him, because his people want to perform, to please!
Fear is often described as “respect.” As parents, our children “feared” us in the sense they respected the knowledge that if they did not obey, punishment was sure to follow. Yet, we were also respected out of love. The children, therefore, wanted to please us by their obedience.
It’s been said if you “demand” respect you have a problem. If you have to remind people that you are the leader (in whatever form that may be—employer, teacher, professional person, or even a pastor), there is a problem! What is better is if you “command” respect. When respect is “demanded,” there is often a sense of hostility because it is forced. On the other hand, when “commanded,” respect is given freely, because the leader has earned that right.
Leaders need to know who they are, their strengths and their weaknesses. They need to be willing to admit a mistake, take responsibility when things go right and when they go wrong! They need negotiation skills, motivational ideas, knowledge of successful team building strategies and even goal setting abilities.
A leader also needs a vision of where he and those around him hope to be and a suggested time table to get there! He needs to know his people and their needs. He must demonstrate humility, have integrity, honesty and a degree of courage when faced with obstacles.
Being a leader must be recognized as not just a skill, but an honor! It doesn’t matter what area of life “leading” takes place, it will still take effort; it may not be easy. But how the leader treats his people will have a direct impact on his relationship with them and the over all success of his “company.”
I encourage you to reflect on your leadership position. What are your greatest challenges and some of your worst mistakes? They say hind sight gives “20/20 vision.” What advice would you give someone who is just beginning a leadership role?