Over the years, I’ve come to realize that people approach the responsibility of leadership in many different ways. It’s not unlike the way some of us head into the crashing waves of the ocean.
I know that for me, if the water’s warm enough, I head right into the waters and as soon as I know I’m deep enough into the breakers I go head first and just get soaked. My wife Carol, on the other hand, prefers to simply let the water touch her toes, and after a while her ankles, and then eventually her knees and then perhaps 20 minutes later she may go fully under! (From where I see things, hers is the most painful way to experience it and yet, she hasn’t changed in the four decades that I’ve known her!)
I have found people embrace leadership in the same way. There are some that look carefully at the circumstances and then with little prodding make a dramatic leap head first into the opportunity or challenge that’s before them. They don’t care about the initial shock of pain or perceived responsibility, they just want to get on with it and get the job done.
I’ve also learned to appreciate and even embrace the people that are much more deliberate in their decision. Recently, I had one good friend that simply asked questions about a specific opportunity for close to a year. In fact, on several occasions he declined involvement but as time, prayer and the gentle nudging of the Spirit continued he opened up to the possibility that the leadership position that was before him was really from God in a place where he could make a difference.
Now, rather than me taking responsibility for “dragging him into a place he didn’t want to be,” he’s actually leaning into it with some anticipation and looking for ways to make a contribution.
Leadership styles are different. However, the most important thing is that we learn to discern those and then flow with them rather than fight against them. As a result, we will find many more people willing to trust not only their own sense of discernment, but you as their friend or mentor as well.
So, if you have someone who seems to be dragging their feet, understand that maybe they’re just getting used to the water and it won’t be long before they’ll be “fully in” and making a significant difference for a long time to come.