There are many ways that people can provide leadership in our lives. People can lead from the center (principled leadership) or from the sidelines (coaching). There is leading with – those that lead from walking alongside others (mentoring). There is a leading from above (authoritative leadership). There are many other prepositions and such that go with leading.
Leading from around. That phrase has kept surfacing in the past few weeks. As we sat many days in the hospital while my mother was there, I kept on hearing story after story from her dear friends. Story from others of my Mom’s kindness to those that were hurting and in need. Stories of my Mom’s adventures and desire to see people experience life. I also heard allusions to the fact that there are some stories that a son might never hear. Please understand these are not stories of scandal, just stories that are shared with other friends that are not shared with sons. I heard some stories that I had never heard. Stories that made me understand and love my mother even more deeply.
What is interesting is this: so many of these stories came from men and women that worked in the school system with my mother. Some of these men and women I am in still in contact with, and many of them attend the church I now work at. It is this reality that has helped me to see what is means to lead from around. Let me explain that a bit more.
My Mom created so many stories. She created a life lived right in front of me. Her attributes of love, kindness and sense of humor had a way of getting implanted within me. It was subtle, but it was strong. Her leadership came from around. It came from many sides. Many people. Many stories. And there are now those that are in my faith community that shaped my Mom and she shaped them. These people continue to shape me from around and hopefully I am will do shape them also in return.
You see not only did this shape me in my younger days. My Mom, even after her death continues to shape me. The stories I hear. The cards with kind words. The smiles. The calls. They all speak to the life my Mom lived. She has led and continues to lead me from around.
This fact is comforting and confronting me.
This fact is still shaping me.
This leads to a huge question for those us that are still living our days on this earth.
How are we leading from around?
What type of stories are we creating that are subtle yet strong?
In other words, what atmosphere are you creating around you by your leadership?
Is it encouraging others to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24) or something else, something less?
I am grateful for my Mom’s leadership. I also am continued to challenged by my Mom’s ability to lead from around.