During the 1980’s there was a strong emphasis on management by objective (MBO). This served as the gold-standard for good, effective leadership for decades. By definition, MBO represented a management system in which the objectives of an organization are agreed upon so that management and employees understand a common way forward.
“Management by objectives aims to serve as a basis for (A) greater efficiency through systematic procedures, (B) greater employee motivation and commitment through participation in the planning process, and (C) planning for results instead of planning just for work. In management by objectives practice, specific objectives are determined jointly by managers and their subordinates, progress toward agreed-upon objectives is periodically reviewed, end results are evaluated, and rewards are allocated on the basis the progress.”
But, in real life, "Do as I say, not as I do" has long been the maxim of parents the world over. So says human resources expert Sophie Hobson of Smarta Business Builder:
www.smarta.com/advice/employees/management-skills/a-bad-manager-doesnt-lead-by-example - Hobson further posits that “if an authority figure has one set of rules for themselves and another for subordinates, it's not only hypocritical - it's unfair. Managers with double standards are bound to foster resentment. And if employees are bitter, productivity suffers.”
So, if our follower standard should be doing as others say, that is, doing as our leaders say, not as they do, then perhaps we should ask ourselves what constitutes good examples for leaders-managers to present to employees? Should personal as well as professional character matter? And, if so, will issues such as whether they are religious, encourage drinking, smoking and use of illegal drugs, or whether they cheat on their spouse and lie to staff in order to get work done, be considered standards we should embrace or overlook in leaders?
We named this publication PAR-A-GON or Paragon because it defines “A person [or thing] that is perfect or excellent in some way and should be considered a model or example to be copied.” (Source: Merriam-Website Dictionary Online) In the minds of the average man there may well exist such a standard-bearer. But for Christians, there is only one person who ever lived that was considered perfect in all of His ways. That description only suits Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-9; 7:28 ESV).
In contrast to this model of virtue, Mark 7:21-23 says “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a person” (ESV). And Romans 7:18 says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (ESV). If these verses describe all of mankind, hence anyone who rises to a position of leadership, then what should we as Christians embrace as acceptable leadership characteristics and virtues?
True leaders recognize that we are all followers first and foremost. How can you lead unless you have first learned to follow? Clearly, Jesus taught His disciples the importance of learning before going out to transform others. This process from being called to be sent is discipleship, where one learns to grow in the knowledge of God-given endowment and their ability to use the gifts, talent and exercise of good moral and ethical character inherent within them. With proper training, one can become Christ-like in their exercise of leadership because Christ paid the ultimate price for our righteousness, making us able to become nearer to perfect in all of our ways.
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What else can a leader do to find quality leadership from which to develop into quality leaders? Please revisit Paragon where we will bring to you great principles and expert testimonies from leaders in all walks of life. Our next article will feature our thoughts on author John C. Maxwell’s book “21 Indispensible Qualities of A Leader: Becoming the Person that Others Will Want to Follow.” Our specialty will be to generate near-perfect examples from which we can all find ideas and practical strategies for leading others and hopefully transforming lives in the process.
In the interim, feel free to comment and share your thoughts on our movement to equip leaders to change the world. And don’t forget to visit us at www.mylpi.org for additional information and related publications.
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