I love reading books on leadership. And recently, The Anonymous Leader: An Unambitious Pursuit of Influence by Ralph Mayhew, a pastor in Australia came across my desk. It is an excellent and convicting book about being a biblical leader, from a fresh angle. I asked Ralph to be my guest blogger today. His post gives you a glimpse into his book. I highly recommend it.
When it comes to leading people well, a leader can experience a lot of pressure. Every leader feels the weight of the role, and add to this the sometimes ruthless expectations of followers and it can sadly be enough to convince some out of the call entirely.
Leadership, however, is not about us, it’s about how God chooses to use the platform of His influence upon which we stand. Our ears should not be attuned to the expectations of our followers, but the expectations of the one who gave us the platform.
That platform belongs to God and is a gift God gives to every leader entrusting us to steward it in line with his will. The platform is different to the stage of leadership. The platform is where God’s business is conducted, as opposed to the stage where a leader seeks to pursue their ambition of becoming great and increasing their own influence.
Christian leadership has always meant to be about God’s agenda. As we read words like what John the Baptist said ‘He must become greater and I must become less.’ (Jn 3:30) we are beckoned into anonymity. It begins to dawn on us as Jesus washes His disciples feet, that occupying God’s platform of influence, does not require our greatness to be known, but God’s. Leading in the Kingdom of God requires us to become invisible, anonymous, transparent.
Transparency is a great metaphor for Christian leadership. If a leader is able to cast vision, create community, challenge culture, instill values, navigate change and inspire people, all by enabling people to look toward them and be caught in God’s influence, then they have fulfilled John the Baptist’s words.
The Anonymous Leader does this, powerfully influencing others as they align their influence to God’s. They realize that through their influence God’s influence is actually coming to bear on a person’s life. This kind of leader recognizes that leadership is never about them, but all about how they steward God’s platform, which they occupy.
As a leader relinquishes their personal ambitions and strives for anonymity, they truly can embrace the leadership platform God has gifted them with. In doing so the five components of leadership present in ever leader can be stewarded toward anonymity and Kingdom advancement, and away from selfish ambitious desires that lurk in the spirit of us all. Excellent self-leadership begins to see a leader’s passion migrate toward wisdom and away from recklessness. Their trust builds toward integrity and hypocrisy decreases. Their invincibility is ushered into and grounded in humility, leaving their pride to starve. Their confidence is nurtured into security, reducing the pull of insecurities. And their commitment is driven into a depth of resilience and away from shallowness.
The Anonymous Leader constantly strives for wisdom, integrity, humility, resilience and security to grow in their lives, knowing that those they lead and the Kingdom of God in which they lead, will be enriched and benefited because of it.