The Nature of Leadership

By Daniel Vestal

In his book “Let Your Life Speak” Parker Palmer says the following about leadership.

“I’ll give you a quick definition of a leader: a leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his or her shadow, or his or her light. A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to create the conditions under which other people must live and move and have their being – conditions that can either be as illuminating as heaven or as shadowy as hell. A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him or her self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”

Through the years I have observed individuals in positions of leadership who have had profound influence for good while others who have had profound influence for bad. But for most of us it is a mixture, and even when we want to lead in a good way we often lead in ways that produce mixed results.

At the Baugh Center we look at models and theory, systems and structures. But we also listen to practitioners and learn from real people who desire to be Christ like leaders. We show grace to one another, because we all need grace. There are no perfect leaders, just as there are no perfect people. So we learn with a focus on respect and mutual trust. We also learn from one another’s failures as well as successes, and we are attentive to the leadership of ordinary individuals as well as the experts.

So join us in this conversation about leadership.  Write us with your ideas, suggestions and concerns. The Eula Mae and John Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership promises to be like the couple for whom it is named, an adventure.