I first of all want to thank the awesome group at Mile Two Discipleship School for welcoming me into their circle last! It was a pleasure to help in the area of self awareness and learning to lead from your own unique place in life. This involves the Myers-Briggs type material, but definitely goes beyond that, as each individual learns to navigate their space by their individual design.
The philosophy I dropped on them at one point is one I secretly include in many of my workshops: Leadership Is For Everyone. LIFE for short. I personally believe that we are all uniquely designed for leadership in our own unique way in the unique circumstances we find ourselves. It is not a matter of the ‘perfect’ leadership personality or style rising to the top of the heap; it is a matter of individuals understanding their contribution and ability within their community.
I, of course, use this language most often in the church setting, especially in an environment of scarcity. This is most often when people start looking for the perfect hero to save them. That rarely works.
So what about this ‘commander’ business?
Well, if you follow my social media at all, you may have realized I play a little of the game Magic the Gathering. Now, if your geek alarm just went off, you are still in a safe place, I will not make you play, and I will stay on topic!
Thanks for staying with me…
There is a format of Magic (MTG for short) that is based on having a ‘commander’ for your deck of cards. As the game revolves around a battlefield and how well you are able to destroy the other players’ and their chosen deck, and successfully defending yourself, a good commander can make the difference. The whole deck is made up of individual, unique cards, and the commander (who is normally visible), somehow helps the rest of the deck do well. Your commander becomes more costly the more times you place him/her on the battlefield and they die.
Basically, like most games, the object is to win, and make someone else lose. Surprise.
It takes some work building a great deck, with as many key aspects as possible, revolving around a certain theme that represents a strength/ability, and then making it play well. It is fun and strategic, but also maddening if the mixture is off. Maybe this is why I so enjoy working with individuals and groups as I help them see their place and potential with their group and setting. I especially see this as a strength in my work with the church. So what about this commander?
The commander has to be certain class of cards to begin with, but not ever commander is a leader.
Did you catch that? I have cards designed to be in the ‘commander class’ that are terrible leaders. They are big, smart, occasionally deadly, characters. But they offer nothing to the other 99 cards in the deck. In fact, with as much as they cost to get on the battlefield, they are actually a hindrance. Even if they are part of the overall theme, not one of my cards is better off for their presence. Making my playing time more frustrating and pointless than positive and enjoyable.
A good soldier is not necessarily the best commander. The most dedicated team member may not be the best leader. Why?
Because both need to make everyone else better at what they need to do. They offer skills that enhance the skills of the others, traits that amplify the best of others, strengths that make others stronger, and make decisions that create better situations for everyone else to work within. That is a good commander. Self awareness in a communal setting helps the potential leader become better for everyone.
So if you read past the word Magic, I hope you are a better leader for it!