On one day a year millions around the world exalt a tale of Insanely Revolutionary Leadership. Every three or four years, I reprise it in RFL. And if we tell and hear the story right, everyone is invited to practice revolutionary everyday leadership.
Imagine the greatest leaders of our time: Obama, Putin, Gorbachev, Mandela, Reagan, Hilary and Bill Clinton. Throw in prophets. As with Michigan strawberries, you pick ‘em: Dennis Kucinich? Ralph Nader? Sean Hannity? The Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Friedman? (A list inclusive of at least one person sure to drive nearly everyone nuts :-)). Toss in business leaders: Sergei and Larry and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Pick your fave.
Now imagine the one you consider most powerful – in a meeting with their team, their closest advisors, their board or inner circle of friends. Things are good. Spirits are high. There’s momentum and huge possibilities in the air. And imagine after dinner, the most powerful leader grabbing a towel and . . . . washing the feet of his or her friends. Later the same night, imagine they’re still together when someone with a gun comes up to kidnap the leader, and when one of his friends intervenes (with a gun, or threats of a lawsuit), the leader says, “Stop. Put away the guns.” Remotely plausible? Straining the imagination?
Finally imagine that person is then tried quickly and put to a painful death, all the while choosing not to marshal resources for a counter offensive. Christians recognize in this the last three days of Jesus’ life and the spirit of his entire time of leadership. The man or Man totally chose love over fear, and service over self.
What would it be like to have that kind of boss? What would it be like for children to have that kind of mom and dad, or that kind of teacher? Before you get to the impossibility and impracticality of it all, imagine just for a second the kind of trust you would feel if you were served in that way by your leaders. What if they had no fear – or put it aside completely for love? What if they saw goodness in you beyond what you could possibly see in yourself?
One day a year we ought to fully embrace love and service in our leadership journey. We ought to risk the insane and believe that love will win, no matter the appearances of loss or setback, no matter the monstrous lump of fear in our throats. One day believe and invoke forces of love and service, in magnificent moments to
Lead with our best Self