Two Kinds of Leaders

January 31, 2014

This article was written by Frank Viola and was published in his exclusive Unfiltered update list which goes out every month to his email subscribers. If you enjoy this update, you can get these Unfiltered updates by signing up here. It’s FREE.

In our leadership-frenzied Christian culture, I’ve opted for a different label for leadership.

That label is influence.

Despite the unhealthy love-affair that countless Christians have with “leadership” and being “a leader,” the truth is, if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you’re an influencer.

Your influence may be large or small, it may be good or bad, but it exists.

In this UNFILTERED update, I want to address two types of influencers in the body of Christ. And I’d like to do so by using an experience I had many years ago with two very different kinds of leaders.

At the time, both had considerable influence. But in terms of their character and leadership-style, they were light years apart. And so each influencer represents two very different kinds of leadership with drastically different results.

Influencer 1

The first leader was a gifted speaker and writer. He held a PhD in charm. And when he was at the top of his game, he was unparalleled in articulating certain topics about which he was passionate.

As with most gifted communicators, whenever he spoke in public, one part of the audience would descend into a “take his head off” feeding frenzy, while others who would hardly squirm, never once reaching for their smart phones.

However, this influencer suffered from a piercing narcissism to which he was completely blind. And as with most narcissistic types, he became easily jealous of others who were as gifted – or more gifted — than he.

Even during his public talks, his megalomania would betray itself as he’d wax eloquent about himself and his accomplishments.

Despite his outward warmness, he viewed other mortals as projects to advance his own ministry rather than people made in God’s image. He had no capacity to accept advice from others, even when it would have spared him lots of failure and frustration.

While he would speak compellingly about brokenness and humility, he was routinely threatened by the popularity of others. Notoriously vain and monstrously insecure, he’d often engage in petty back-biting, school-yard belittling, and even slander, all to compensate for his insecurities. He’d routinely bad mouth others just to work off his own demons.

These character defects made him toxic.

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