July 24, 2006

Man, the Leader 1: What is Leadership?

before giving the book "For Men Only" to my dad, i just had to read it first. not all of it, just about "The Man and His Marriage" (but of course!!!). so here goes =)

from the book: "For Men Only"*
the section: "The Man and His Marriage"
the article: "Man, The Leader"
by David W. Augsburger (radio speaker, 'The Mennonite Hour')

  • If leadership is "helping and serving so that both move forward," then it is an action done by either person in a way that liberates both. It may go unnoticed. It happens best when unrecognized. It is accepted most easily when it is unselfconscious, selfless, self-giving, when it is exercised in the Christ-way of giving help.
  • Helping another is best defined as giving another the freedom to change, and change voluntarily. This is a creative exercise in leadership. In contrast, authoritarian doctrine prohibits free choice, and inhibits free interchange and the freedom to change.
  • Leadership shared in mutual respect can establish a climate of dignity, freedom, and responsibility, creating an atmosphere which is both comforting and stimulating to both --- a Christian atmosphere. In it, each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other. [teci: can’t remember if this is a personal note or the author’s, but this brings to mind Galatians 4:19 --- “My little children, again I feel the pain of childbirth for you until you truly become like Christ.”]
But where one seizes power, or both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict chokes communication and understanding. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.
  • Leadership is a function which should always be shared.
Authority in one area or another is a responsibility which is mutually designated to one or the other through honest negotiation. It can be renegotiated at any time.
  • Life together is life shared. Shared love, shared work, shared opportunities, shared leadership, even shared initiative. Man, the nominal head, may function officially for both in public matters of leadership. Woman, recognized as equal in leadership, leads with, and not against him. Together, they choose to grow.

* “For Men Only: The Dynamics of Being a Man and Succeeding at It,” edited by J. Allan Peterson, Living Books, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Illinois. 1973.
Article originally from “Cherishable: Love and Marriage,” Herald Press, Scottdale, Pa., 1971.

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