In my lifetime, I have been given the opportunity of being the "point-leader" (the buck stops with me) of a group, business, or organization on several occasions. To give you an idea of the range of point leadership experiences I've had, along with my age at the time, here is a short list:
- 8th Grade Class President (12)
- Christian Club President (15)
- Sunday School Director (20)
- PPLSI Area Coordinator (22)
- Non-Profit Organization Executive Director (25)
- High School Ministry Director (27)
- Lead Pastor (30)
Throughout the years, though there have been many things that I love about point leadership, I have come to absolutely hate (I know hate is a strong word, but it best describes how I feel!) three things in particular:
1. THE RESPONSIBILITY IS HEAVY
As the point leader, no one feels and experiences the weight of responsibility for the success and effectiveness of the organization like we do. No one is as burdened with seeing the mission and vision of the organization come to fruition as we are. No one feels more accountable for the results of the organization, whether bad or good, than we do.
I hate that the responsibility is heavy because the weight of it is something that never changes! There is absolutely nothing I can do to feel less responsible, I'm the leader! All I can do is learn to carry the weight of responsibility more effectively.
2. THE CRITIQUE IS RELENTLESS
As a point leader, no one is more of a target for criticism, blame, and flat out hate than we are. No one experiences the onslaught of "feedback" of things we can be doing better, things we could be doing more of, and things we should be doing less! No one is confronted by the never ending opinions (which are often times right!) of the things that need to be changed for the organization to reach its' full potential than us.
I hate that the critique is relentless because, many times, it just hurts! The manner in which many people go about the matter of providing feedback is, often times, insensitive, untimely, and rude.
I also hate that the critique is relentless because, whether people know it or not, point leaders are just as relentless about improving as their critics are at communicating what needs to be improved! So every time a new critique comes, the point leader has another thing to add to his already long list of things he's working to make better!
3. THE FAILURE IS DEVASTATING
As a point leader, no one is more negatively affected by missed goals and missed opportunities than we are. No one is more saddened by ways in which the organization failed or let people down than we are. Whether it is with staff, members, customers, or potential clients, no is more crushed by an organizations inability to meet expectations than the point leader. When something the organization intends to do doesn't get done, it is the point leader who is most discouraged by missing the mark.
I hate that failure is devastating because organizational failure is an inescapable reality! Every time an organization tries something new, the potential for failure is present. On my best day, the devastation of failure cannot be avoided, it can only be managed.
What does this mean for you?
With an awareness of the three things I hate about being a point-leader in mind, here are three recommendations:
- Pray for your leader. We could definitely use it! I don't think there is a point-leader alive who would not readily receive your prayers for them!
- Extend grace to your leader. We are going to let you down. We are going to disappoint you. Being a point-leader gives us no excuse to fail you, but when we do, grace is much appreciated!
- Evaluate your desire to be a point leader. Are you prepared for heavy responsibility? Are you ready for relentless critique? Can you handle devastating failure? Though Jesus may have been talking about following Him, I think these words are wise as we evaluate our desire to lead others, "But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?" (Luke 14:28 NLT)