As leaders, there are a lot of people looking at us. This might make you think you have to put on a happy face and pretend to be 'that guy'. But running around saying 'oh bless you brother' when you don't feel it makes you fake, and if there's one thing a biker can spot, its a fake. 

By the same token, we are not called to wander around with a sour face on, and be thoughtless toward others. The enemy does an awesome job trying to convince us that our problems are so big, that we can't see others and what they are going through.

If you accept the prestige of authority , you also must accept the responsibility to have a daily word and prayer time, and to center yourself before you walk into the spotlight. Set your struggles  aside, and discern the needs of others so that you can speak into them.

Everyone wants the title , but not everyone wants the responsibility. Everyone wants to look cool, but frankly many who are in leadership shouldn't be. With so many self proclaimed presidents who are 'starting a club', but have never been a prospect, never been taught the right way to do things, there may not be enough role models out there. So here are some basic thoughts:

1. You don't own them. So stop calling them 'your guys'. They are God's guys. And you will be called into account before God for how you treat them, and what happens to their souls. I never allow presidents under me to call the men in their charters 'my guys'.

2. Just because you call yourself president doesn't mean you get to treat God's guys however you want. In fact that means there is a stricter judgment from God on you. You better not be wounding a lot of people, hurting their feelings, treating them however you want. God will deal with you. You are subject to your men as their leader. You were voted in, and like a politician you can be voted out, and should be if you don't treat people right. Earn your keep every day.

3. Never give advice. People don't need your human advice. Pray before you speak. If you don't have a word from God for them, keep your mouth shut. Pray with men, listen to them, ask questions. They probably already know the right thing to do, its just probably something they don't want to do.

4. Learn reflective listening. Research it. Employ it. For pete's sake stop talking. Stop interrupting people. All the wise men I've known in my life didn't chatter on endlessly. They were quiet, they were listening. This will make you a better leader, a better husband and father.

5. Stop talking about yourself. Self conscious people with low self esteem talk about themselves to build themselves up. Let another praise you and not your own lips, that's how Proverbs puts it. And while you're at it, stop criticizing people. Build them up instead.

6. Pray for wisdom. Pray for patience and humility. These are the traits of a great leader. Notice I did not say to pray to become a loud mouth. That's the trait of a poor leader.

7. Publicly praise the men around you. Work very hard to find their positive characteristics. That way when you do, it won't be flattery, it'll be real.

8. Don't back down from confrontation, but don't get angry when it comes. Work with people as best you can. But when its time, crush and expel dissension and the critical spirit. If somebody is critical and negative, take them to the side and tell them in no uncertain terms that it's incorrect and will not be tolerated. The second time, get up in their face and find out why they didn't follow through on your first message. The third time kick them to the curb for a couple weeks, and make them earn their way back in with positive encouraging and loving speech. Do it while they are still a prospect, because it's only going to get worse when they get their patch. One critical person can bring down the whole charter.

9. Leaders lead. Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn't do yourself. Lead by example. Be enthusiastic. Everyone is going to be slightly less enthusiastic than you are. Never be critical of the leaders above you, always back them up and support them. Or else you're teaching people to be critical of you, people do what they see. You reap what you sow, if you want dedicated followers, be a dedicated follower.

10. Realize the limit of your authority. For the men under my leadership, I have the right to criticize mentor and build up. But that doesn't apply to every biker I meet. My general rule is that I need to build someone up and be positive to them 3 times, before I have earned the right to criticize them or correct them. Few things are more annoying than a person who thinks their God given job is to go around correcting strangers.

As a final thought, study leadership. Read books or websites on it. If you taking the authority, wear it well.

February 02, 2014 — James Johnson

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