I am just getting back in the saddle after attending a leadership conference and enjoying some vacation. Its August, and August is marked by intensive ramping up for a new academic year. I sincerely hope that you have had some meaningful time of refreshment, rejuvenation, and rest, but I also hope that you have spent some time on your skills. I have shared with some of you that one of the verses that has deeply impacted my life is Psalm 78:72. It states: “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”
Here are a couple of observations. First, notice the leadership image employed – shepherding. Percolate on that for a while and it will rattle some leadership categories. Leadership is many things, but at the top, leadership is shepherding. Second, notice how character and competency both matter for leadership but observe the order. Character precedes competency. The impact from your competency evaporates pretty quickly if there isn’t the character backing it up. Character matters. Character is foundational. However, once there is character, we need to be conscientious in the development of our competencies. We need to be “skillful” leaders. I have always liked Stephen Covey’s language of “sharpen the saw”. You don’t wait until the saw, or knife, or axe becomes completely dull before sharpening it. You sharpen your tools frequently to keep the edge.
The conference I attended in July was invaluable. At the end of this week I will be going to Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit in Saskatoon. This summer I have been reading several books and articles related to my functioning as a leader and school president. I want to be as sharp as I can.
What will you do this week to stay sharp? What will you do this month to hone your skills? What will you do this year that will make you ever increasingly competent as an influencer, leader, and servant of Jesus Christ. As you apply this in your life, remember the epitaph over David’s life. It’s the kind of legacy I would like to leave. This is what I want to be said of all of us, and this is what I want to be said of our alums.
Michael B. Pawelke, DMin
College and Seminary
510 College Drive
Caronport, Saskatchewan S0H 0S0