Being a leader is tough. Let me say that again. Being a good leader is tough. Anyone can stand up in the front of the line and say "follow me." But truly leading people is so hard to do well.
I was thinking this afternoon about accountability. Actually, about accountability in terms of making tough decisions. A leader who is not accountable to himself, his responsibilities or his organization will pass over the tough decisions. Either by passing the buck so that someone else has to do it and then can be blamed for it. Or by simply ignoring the issue that needs to be decided on and hoping it goes away. Neither of these is a good choice. Both errode trust and increase the ineffectiveness of the organization. Neither are a sign of a good leader.
Within the setting of our congregations, our leaders are called on to make tough decisions all the time. And we need to be held accountable by ourselves and the people we are leading to not only make those decisions, but to make effective decisions. That's the other part of what makes this so tough.
For some leaders, decision-making is easy. They enjoy the responsibility and are comfortable with being at the front of the line. However, to often, some leaders make decisions based off of their comfort-zones, their opinions and their interests. When they should be setting aside all subjectivity and objectively gathering information, weeding through it and then coming to the decision that best moves the congregation towards achieving its' goals.
Here's an example of where we might be either avoiding addressing or have made decisions based on our opinions or preferences. To have a Gospel Meeting/Homecoming or not? This is a tradition that has been great for the Church! Thousands of Christians have come to Christ through a Gospel Meeting. And countless more have been restored while attending one. The catch is that all these Christians are now in their 50s or older. Meetings haven't been an effective evangelism tool in at least one, probably two generations. So the question needs to be asked, "what is the goal of a Gospel Meeting?" If it is to evangelize, then it's not meeting its goal and hasn't for some time. And as a result a tough decision needs to be made. If we have changed the goal of a Meeting, then what has it been changed to? Has that been identified and communicated to the congregation? Is it possible that this is a tool that was great at one time, but is no longer effective because of changes in society? Is it possible that we need to put our resources and efforts in another tool to reach lost souls?
Being accountable is one of the biggest keys to being an effective leader. And it is difficult to do well and do consistently. Gospel Meetings are just an easy example to pick on to make this point. Good leadership requires being accountable to everyone - especially the organization. Which means making difficult decisions by objectively considering factual information and not just opinions, preferences and traditions. As leaders we've always got to do what's best for the Church.