Written by cycleguy on March 5th, 2013


A leadership principle:

He who thinks he leads but has no one following is only taking a walk. 

Many “leaders” are light years ahead of their constituents and end up leaving them in their dust.  Joel puts it well when he writes, “Leading with love needs to be taught and measured; we need to care how people achieve their tasks, not only if they achieve them.  Leading with love needs to be more integrated into an organization’s operating model, but we must still lead, using our power and love while navigating difficult decisions and difficult times with unwavering dedication. ”  (p.150)

I think one of the hardest things to do is lead with love,  while also leading with balance.  Many lead saying, “I’m going to love.”  Meanwhile, they are unwilling to make the hard calls.  File under people-pleasers.  Others say, “What I say goes.  I’m the boss around here.”  File under tyrants.  There has to be a happy medium.

I won’t cloud the truth.  I was am a people-pleaser.  (I am a Sanguine)  Let me rephrase that: I love pleasing people.  I like making people happy.  Unfortunately, that sometimes morphs into “I gotta please everyone.”  I don’t have to tell you what happens when that mentality kicks in.  I run around like a chicken with its head cut off, flitting from here to there trying to make Group A-B-C happy.  You get the picture of the man spinning plates and trying to keep them all going.  Yeah…


On the other end of the spectrum is the one who runs a “tight” ship.  No tomfoolery.  No quibbling (with his ideas).  No hesitation.  Choleric personalities run a muck fit this one.  I really like the quote attributed to Dr. MLKing: “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.”  B-I-N-G-O!  That sums up what I have been saying in this post.  I know people…you know people…who fit each side.  The real leader is a blend of the two.

There is no greater example than Jesus.  Check out this Scripture.   Jesus had the power, but on His last night with His followers, He embodied love by washing their feet.   Choosing to lead with love is a tough decision, but one a wise leader makes.  It takes dedication to make that happen.  But it’s worth it.  Can you imagine what would happen in churches if the pastor/staff was not interested in “I’m head,” but in seeing whom they can serve?  And please don’t get me started on special parking places with a sign “Reserved for Pastor.”  That’s a real gag reflex you’re hearing. 🙂

Jon Stolpe and I are blogging about Love Works by Joel Manby.  We have two weeks left after this post (one more chapter and a wrap up).  Make sure you read his take on this chapter hereMeanwhile, have any thoughts? Where do you think dedication fits in?


22 Comments so far ↓

  1. If you lead with love, you are dedicated to others than you are yourself. You are more interested in them and the organization than you are with yourself.

  2. Daniel says:

    Good stuff here tonight that gave me something to ponder. (Note, check your MLK quote, I believe you have included an important typo on the first part.)

  3. Jon Stolpe says:

    Lovin’ the link-up. Great take again this week, Bill!

    Here’s the link to my post:

  4. Dan Erickson says:

    I agree that Jesus was a blend of the two types, but I think he was much more on the side of love. Yet, His love is unlike our love. He’s much more patient, kind, understanding, and forgiving than us mere mortals.

  5. Eileen says:

    I struggle with sliding into the people pleasing mode too, Bill. It’s important that I do heart check often to make sure my reasons behind doing things for others is a healthy reason. I love the quote you opened with too.

    • cycleguy says:

      Motives do play a lot into why we do what we do. I do what you do: I will sometimes slide into that mode without even knowing it. Wake me Lord!

  6. As a newly minted pastor I am reminded (by the Father) on the traits that have planted me into this new role. A serving heart is a loving heart and vice-versa. That includes loving when it’s not easy and when it’s a breeze. I am learning new levels of serving each and every day my friend. Thanks for the thoughts!

    • cycleguy says:

      I like that Jay, “newly minted.” I totally agree it is a daily learning curve you are on. Everyone of us for that matter. Good to hear from you my friend.

  7. floyd says:

    It is a fine line like most things in this life. Regardless of our bend, I think when we are walking in the Spirit of our Father we’ll be able to do the right thing. I know for sure if it’s from our flesh it will fail every time… That’s the voice of experience!

    Great post, Bill. Love the quote by MLK.

    • cycleguy says:

      It is always amazing (and clear) when we are walking in the flesh vs. the spirit. Good point Floyd. That is a good quote.

  8. tcavey says:

    I just began reading this book (along with reading “Young and Purposeful” by Moyo Mamora- I love it when I read two books and they speak similar messages to me- that’s sooo God).

    Anyway, I think finding a balance can be tricky but being consciously aware of our own tendencies (people pleaser, tyrant, etc) helps us to make decisions based in love. We can take our “natural” tendencies to God and ask Him to refine us. He likes doing that 🙂

    • cycleguy says:

      Finding the balance is tricky for sure. I think you are right about knowing our tendencies. So important to put a guard around us.

  9. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much . .this is good stuff, especially for us people pleasers. 🙂 I was really bad in that regard, but God has helped me to become more of a people person vs. people pleaser. Still struggle!
    God bless you . .as a pastor, it is extra tricky!

  10. I have been an extreme people pleaser and it’s not fun. It messes up everything because you simply can’t do it and follow everything God says. There always comes a dividing line where you have to make a choice, but there is freedom in living like Jesus as you describe here. It takes real relationship with Him to walk it out, but it’s a beautiful thing. I certainly haven’t “arrived” but I’m thankful to be further along than I once was! Thanks Bill.

    • cycleguy says:

      You are right Jason. It isn’t fun because it does mess up everything. I am thankful I am further along than I used to be always. Thanks for the comment Jason.

  11. I love that Martin Luther King quote!
    I think part of the dedication aspect is being intentional in stepping back and taking a look at yourself – recognizing your people-pleasing or tyrant tendencies.