One of the greatest lessons I learned during my undergraduate experience was a lesson in leadership. I did not know it then, but God had plans for me, plans that required me to understand a few things about people before he would entrust me with his purposes.
During my junior and senior years, I became the vice president then the president of a men’s service organization. I had enjoyed this club since becoming part of it right after arriving on campus. We set up and tore down banquets, assisted in county health and emergency needs, provided muscle for campus clean ups and other projects, and sponsored the annual spring celebration, a day of silly games, special luncheons, off-campus visitors, and of course a queen. As the president I got to escort the queen and help her plant the traditional tree. I moved on to escort another lady through life, but the tree still stands.
In my role as president I was directly responsible for the events of the big day. Every activity had to be planned and someone had to be found to develop and administer the activity. This is where I began my extracurricular lessons.
I discovered that there are several kinds of people (in this case it was all men, consistent with our club at the time). There are:
· People who say, “Yes,” and never fulfill their promise.
· People who say, “No,” mean it, and never do anything.
· People who must be begged, cajoled, urged, flattered, or even “threatened” with “dire” consequences, who eventually agree to do the job—maybe.
· People who say, “Yes,” but must be monitored while they do the work to assure it’s accomplished as mutually planned.
· People who say, “Yes,” do not require supervision, complete the task, and do it excellently.
I learned that the latter type of person is all-too-rare. But they do exist. One such person is Dr. Kevin Sims, who is now teaching at our alma mater. Kevin and I served together in that men’s club, and I will never forget his reliability, work ethic, and integrity. When he said he’d do something, it got done—well and on time. And once he took charge, I never gave the task a second thought. So I learned that this kind of commitment both achieves and liberates. It completes the task, and it frees the leader to move on to other things. So this kind of person makes a double contribution.
I’ve met only a few Kevins in my leadership experience, but I’ve learned to look for and greatly esteem them. They are the right kind of “Yes Men/Women.” They are “Do-ers” and “Builders,” people whose works are an apt expression of their faith.
I also learned not only to look for these kinds of people but to try to be this kind of person. I learned that how I handle assigned task says volumes about my character and my faith.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.