Don't Expect to be Understood as a Leader

Fr. Chuck is a pastor of a local church.  He's polite and really looks you in the eye when he speaks to you.  From my initial impression, he's a good leader.

And then... I ran into a family at a lighting store here in town.  Turns out, they actually left Fr. Chuck's church because they felt he was making too many changes.  "He's just not our type," they said with a smile that revealed more than just what they were saying.

Why is it that leaders are like that?  They inspire fierce loyalty from some and disdain from others.

I worked with a gentle soul, Joe, years ago.  He was my boss and (forgive me if I've shared this story before!) when he was done with meeting with you, he would just stand up and leave.  I thought it was so rude at the time.  What I didn't realize was that, years later when I was a boss, I would need to do the exact same thing.

Joe knew that his time was finite and his behavior reflected this.  

Leaders know stuff that the rest of us don't, like when you should cut a meeting short because it's not done but you know that it actually is.

Here's the key point: don't expect to be understood as a leader.  Some will get you and others will leave.  That's ok- it means you are standing for something.

A man who did this well was a Boston priest named Fr. Thomas Judge.  Some bishops disliked him so much that they banished him to the sticks of Alabama (I mean that with all love and sincerity).  Judge stood for radical things: going to church more often and having lay people visit the sick and share faith with them.  Bold stuff for the 1920's!  The result of his career and leadership?  An entire family of priests, brothers and nuns who span at least four countries and serve hundreds of thousands.  While misunderstood, I'd say Judge's leadership payed off.  

Don't expect to be understood as a leader.  Do expect to be called to do scary things, solving hairy problems and serving those who need you the most.