Every great story has two key characters. The first is the hero – the main character. Luke Skywalker, Batman, and Maximus (Gladiator) are a few examples of some of my favorite movie heroes. These heroes encounter a significant, seemingly unsurmountable challenge. They need help. They need a plan.
The other character is the guide or advisor. The guide helps the hero overcome his problem. Yoda, Alfred, and Proximo are the guides to the aforementioned characters. Throughout the story, we watch the guide gain the trust of the hero and help the hero develop and execute a plan to overcome the challenge. Think about your favorite movie. The same structure exists. There is a hero with a problem who tries to overcome that problem through the helpful guidance of an advisor, mentor, sage, or friend.
As you think about your leadership story, who is the guide and who is the hero? Many of us, if we’re honest, want to think that we are the hero of our own story. Stay with me. This is important. If we want to lead like Jesus, Abraham, Nehemiah, and Esther, then we must assume the role of the guide. Those we serve – our team, our boss, our spouse, our children – become the hero. What are their challenges? What do they need to overcome those challenges? How can I serve them and help them overcome those challenges?
When I was a child, I thought “being in charge” was all about wielding authority, telling people what to do, taking all of the credit, and ruthlessly punishing those who were at fault. I lusted after that kind of power. God has helped me see that leadership is so much more than directing people. As leaders, we are called to serve. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. (Matthew 20:28) Is your expectation at work to be served or to serve?
Try this. Think about a relationship at work you are wanting to improve. Place that person, team, department, etc. in the hero role. This may be hard, but stick with me here. Think about their challenges. How do those challenges make them feel? How are good and evil at work in their challenge? Now, you are the guide. How can you, a committed servant leader, help them overcome these challenges? What course of action or plan might help this hero overcome their challenges? How can you create a win for this hero? How can you serve them?
Try this model prayerfully. Ask God to provide you wisdom as you strive to serve as a faithful guide to this “hero.” You will be amazed at the results!