Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How Leaders Should Lead

"No matter what your job is," Ortberg said, "you have an opportunity to live that out every day. Work gives you an opportunity to make a meaningful and significant contribution to the world. Unlike being in church, work gives you an opportunity to live out what it means when Jesus says, 'You are salt, and you are light.'"
Nancy Ortberg

I haven't always been a pastor. For most of my working career, I was employed as a sales representative for some famous consumer goods companies. So I got to see people who hadn't put their happy faces on, or were pretending to be something they were not, unlike what I see sometimes at church.

Working in organizations of tens of thousands meant that I was a very small part of a big machine. As just a part, I interacted with people in authority over me frequently as well as with people in authority within the businesses I called on. I met Sam Walton once, the presidents of companies like P&G, Kroger, etc. And I related daily with my bosses in my organization and mid-level management in our customer's concerns.

Leadership was a commodity that was not as common as one might think. There were people placed in the position as leaders, but who weren't. Just as there are people placed as pastors and leaders in churches, who aren't either.

Today I read an excerpt from a sermon by Nancy Ortberg. She describes an encounter with a person who exhibited true leadership. Her sermon was noticed by Rich Karlgaard of Forbes magazine, who though redacting her references to Jesus, was impacted by her desire to express was true leadership is. His article is called "Godly Work" and I urge you all to read it, as well as listen to Nancy's sermon on the Menlo Park presbyterian site.

An example from her sermon:

"It was about 10:30 p.m. The room was a mess. I was finishing up some work on the chart before going home. The doctor with whom I loved working was debriefing a new doctor, who had done a very respectable, competent job, telling him what he'd done well and what he could have done differently.

"Then he put his hand on the young doctor's shoulder and said, 'When you finished, did you notice the young man from housekeeping who came in to clean the room?' There was a completely blank look on the young doctor's face.

"The older doctor said, 'His name is Carlos. He's been here for three years. He does a fabulous job. When he comes in he gets the room turned around so fast that you and I can get our next patients in quickly. His wife's name is Maria. They have four children.' Then he named each of the four children and gave each child's age.

"The older doctor went on to say, 'He lives in a rented house about three blocks from here, in Santa Ana. They've been up from Mexico for about five years. His name is Carlos,' he repeated. Then he said, 'Next week I would like you to tell me something about Carlos that I don't already know. Okay? Now, let's go check on the rest of the patients.'"

Ortberg recalls: "I remember standing there writing my nursing notes--stunned--and thinking, I have just witnessed breathtaking leadership."

Yes she did. Go read the article, watch the sermon, and go lead.

No comments:

Post a Comment