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What style do you lead with? You are a leader. Everyone leads in some form or another. I don’t want to oversimplify leadership because there is no such thing as simple leadership. So, humor me for a moment and let me cause you to think about two very famous forms of leadership and then you can decide which one you are and whether or not you are okay with your type of leadership. I do believe that you and I can change our leadership. Whether you have the gift of Leadership (Romans 12:8) or not, you can change your leadership style. Do you need to change your leadership style? If you do, will you?

Antoine Sanit-Exuperty was an aviator and an author. He wrote the following statement about leadership that I want to expound on. The simple statement below expresses what I think are the two most popular forms of leadership that I am asking you to meditate on and discern which one you are. Maybe someone else would be more truthful to you than you are to yourself as to which one you are more like.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t recruit the men to gather the wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead teach them to yearn for the vast and open sea!”

There you are. Two very effective forms of leadership. Both, effectively get a ship built.

The first form of leadership gets the ship built just like this image portrays.

This ship is magnificent. Inspirational. This is the kind of ship where men work hard to get it built. This is the kind of ship that men will do all they can to fix the problems and tweak the ship as its built so that it is just perfect. This is a ship that is built in a way that is reproducible, catches attention and people come from all over the world to walk around it and gasp at its incredible-ness. Who wouldn’t want to be recruited by the Leader of this vision so they could gather the materials, be a part of the divided work and complete the orders to build it?

I wouldn’t. I have a problem with this ship. Oh, its breathtaking and inspirational. It is quite an accomplishment. Something to be held in high honor and something to be very proud of. Not too many people get to build a ship like it! Its just not my kind of ship.

You might ask, “Why?”

Because all it is, is a ship, stuck on land. The problem with this ship, is that it is complete. The Leader wanted to build this ship, so he recruited the men to gather the materials, divide the work and gave the orders. Mission Accomplished! Built Ship.

The other form of Leadership… This second form of leadership builds this kind of ship…

This is the kind of ship that is built by the kind of leadership that I long for. Somewhere there was a man that taught a group of people to YEARN for the VAST and OPEN sea. They got together and began to dream about what it would be like to be out in the open sea with the wind blowing and the whales breaching and the waves carrying. These men got tired of dreaming and they discovered amongst them abilities and strengths that could make this yearning become a reality.

This is a boat that probably took a bit longer to build, it may have been a bit of rougher completion process. Mistakes would have to be forgiven, new lessons learned and the product that was brought to fruition was not a ship completed and still on the dock, but a ship completed, full of men who were proud of the accomplishment and an actual ship that is built to accomplish what the dream was all about.

I don’t want to be the leader that just builds the ship. Glorious as that may be.
I want to be a leader that inspires men to build the ship, un-dock the ship, navigate the ship, and then EXPERIENCE the VAST AND OPEN SEA.

Both are very effective styles of leadership with very different results.

What is your Leader…SHIP?