Some Miscellaneous Thoughts on Leading


Occasionally when I have the opportunity for reflection and time to journal, my thoughts go to leadership and what I have learned. There is nothing necessarily profound about these musings other than the fact that I have found them to be real in my experience and I have the scars to prove it. Perhaps they may prove beneficial for others:

• Any effective leader should expect relational conflict and realize that sometimes such conflicts are not resolvable. The onus on a leader in such circumstances is to do whatever is within his/her ability to make things right and then leave the results to God.

• Good leaders …those exercising spiritual leadership …hear from God and are open and sensitive to confirmation of that word through others

• Many mistakes can be avoided by the wisdom of a multitude of counselors. Proverbs is right!

• Followers can shrewdly exploit a leader’s weaknesses and blackmail him/her to the point of impotence and indecisiveness.

• One of the true test of leading is the ability to persevere and press ahead regardless of the opposition.

• Doing what is right for another person’s welfare may be more important than the relationship itself.

• God must be the one who ultimately vindicates a leader’s decisions and reputation.

5 Responses to “Some Miscellaneous Thoughts on Leading”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Sam, your point about followers expoiting a leader’s weakness hits home. Not because I was exploited or the exploitee (I don’t think) but because a very shaping part of my own leadership development came in the context where this was happening, leading to that impotence and indecisiveness you mention.

    This experience, and trying to press forward despite of it, got me so burned I had to temporarily step back. It ruined my view of leadership. I found myself becoming cynical and suspect. Not good traits for spiritual leadership in myself. Fortunately, I’ve had times of experiencing great leadership so know the possibilities. And my stepping back has provided both profound learning and healing I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

    But the mystery of that time remains.

    During that time I reacted in different ways. I tried to do my own thing, working in my area of responsibility and leadership. I tried to confront it. I tried different reactions to no avail, and it thrashed me in the attempt.

    Given that such followers are exploiting a real weakness, it seems that pressing the point only serves to bring more alienation, as the leader likes having his ego massaged, and the followers like the power they get for doing it. What would be the best way to respond to such a situation so as to bring change if one is in a secondary level of leadership and not able to directly implement change? What do we do if we notice our leader falling into this, and our followers being radically affected by such a situation?

  2. Sam Says:


    I’m sitting in a cafe in the interior of Ukraine reading your comment. I would like to respond with something thoughtful but I’m on the run from here to Romania and then Moldova. Some a more lengthly conversation may have to wait.

    The situation you describe is very real. I’ve seen it and experienced it myself. It has all the markings of what Clinton in his leadership stuides calls “leadership backlash.” I’ll see if I can get more info posted on that issue in the future. It’s helpful to make sense out of such tough experiences and figure out what God was doing in the midst of the pain such circumstances invariably cause.

  3. Patrick Oden Says:

    Sam, I very much appreciate your consideration. It’s something that I’ve wrestled with for years now, and find that going through that was amazing in helping me discover patterns in churches, in leadership, and definitely in myself which lead (or will lead) to sharpened senses in regards to thes things.

    I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on all of this.

  4. Greg Russinger Says:

    Hey sam,
    not much feed back, but a quick ‘thanks’, this relates to my current experiences.

  5. Sam Says:


    Thanks for the “thanks.” Nice to hear from you. Would enjoy connecting more personally with you and hearing more about your current situation. Cup of coffee sometime?

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