verb ( past and past participle led |led| ) [ with obj. ]1 cause (a person or animal) to go with one by holding them by the hand, a halter, a rope, etc., while moving forward: sheemerged leading a bay horse.• show (someone or something) the way to a destination by going in front of or beside them: she stood up and led her friend to the door.
1 the exertion of force by means of a lever or an object used in the manner of a lever: my spade hit something solid that wouldn't respond to leverage.• mechanical advantage gained in this way: use a metal bar to increase the leverage.• the power to influence a person or situation to achieve a particular outcome: the right wing had lost much of its political leverage in the Assembly.---------------------------------
I've been thinking about these two terms lately in relationship to leadership. I think both have a place in how a leader uses his or her authority as well as communication to those they have influence over.
Sometimes leading means to physical show people where to go. Leaders are leaders cause they are willing to do things out of the normal flow of life. They see a direction a company, corporation, ministry can go & they take the responsibility of directing everyone to a goal or common purpose. It doesn't mean they are right, but it does mean they have to be the one in charge.
Moses was a leader. He led the nation of Israel from Egypt back to their homeland. He guided there steps, told them specifically what to do, took the accusations & complaints, felt the pressure to perform a certain way, intermediated between Israel and the Lord. Moses was a leader.
Sometimes leading means leveraging the influence of people with encouragement, direction & time. To leverage a corporation, company or ministry that key leader(s) takes the experiences of the past, highlights the strengths & potentials and in a sense sways peoples perception to act a certain way. This can happen in a few hours or over the span of years. Leaders learn to be able to change the culture of any organization you need to leverage those who are with you in conviction about your mission to stand with you.
Nehemiah was a person who used leverage. With the king he served as well as with the tribes of Israel to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. He encouraged them with words, empowered with a common mission & conviction. He led, but also shared in the hard work with them.
Any leader needs to acknowledge there is a fine line between leading & intimidation by force. As well as there is a fine line between leveraging & persuasion or manipulation. There are many examples of good leaders making bad decisions with their leadership & hurting people along the way. Terms like "bulldoze", "dictate" & "power-move" come to mind when leaders misuse their position.
As a leader of people under the age of 21 I've had to physical model & take students to a location or physical setting they've never been to help them see that there is more to life than just their perspective. Missions trips are a great example of this for student ministry.
As a leader of students I've also had to leverage how I communicate about changes in events, programs & overall student ministry. I've gathered people who believe in what we are doing and have asked for their help in sharing the common mission. Training adult leaders & using students on a leadership team is an example of this.
There are times were leading physically with your own voice & body as well as leveraging the culture or setting you are in are needed. The key is which is the right move at the right time without misusing your authority?!
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