Leadership can't be claimed like luggage at the airport. Leadership can't be inherited, even though you may inherit a leadership position. And leadership can't be given as a gift - even if you've been blessed with an abundance of leadership skills to share with someone else. Leadership must be earned by mastering a defined set of skills and by working with others to achieve common goals.
People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.
Barna is correct when he writes, "After fifteen years of diligent digging into the world around me, I have reached several conclusions about the future of the Christian church in America. The central conclusion is that the American church is dying due to lack of strong spiritual leadership. In this time of unprecedented opportunity and plentiful resources, the church is actually losing influence. The primary reason is the lack of leadership. Nothing is more important than leadership."7
The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership.... a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures.
Globalisation means many other countries are asserting themselves and trying to take over leadership. Please don't ask Americans to let others assume the leadership of human exploration. We can do wonderful science on the Moon, and wonderful commercial things. Then we can pack up and move on to Mars.
Leadership is a concept we often resist. It seems immodest, even self-aggrandizing, to think of ourselves as leaders. But if it is true that we are part of a community, then leadership is everyone's vocation, and it can be an evasion to insist that it is not. When we live in the close-knit ecosystem called community, everyone follows and everyone leads.