We are all, in some shape or other, leaders: there are always people who look up to us, in the same way that there are people we look up to.

The question is, how do we lead?

Leadership: Weak or Strong?

Here’s what I call weak leadership: making mistakes. Being imperfect. Admitting to not knowing everything and not trying to cover up our mistakes. In doing so, I believe we are making it easier for others to identify with us.

Here’s what I call strong leadership: having a sound, immovable basis for what we are teaching. “Looking” good, as much as possible, or striving to do so. In short, leading by example.

Both have their strengths, both have their risks.

In being a weak leader, there is a risk of growing comfortable with our own shortcomings and making those we lead comfortable with theirs too. It is just too easy to justify our failures with the excuse of “deliberately being more approachable”. There is also a risk of glorifying sin. As Phil Drysdale recently tweeted, “when you call yourself a sinner you are not being humble. You are being full of pride.”

In being a strong leader, there is a risk of growing distant, of being the “perfect person who won’t understand”. There is a risk of discouraging people from taking on leadership responsibilities, because “they’re not good enough”. More importantly, though, we are not perfect. In striving to “look” good, there is the risk of starting to lead a double life. Of becoming two-tongued and of reserving certain behaviour to leadership mode.

Are you a weak leader or a strong leader? Which one would you rather be? Are there other benefits to choosing one over the other?

I want to be a weak leader, because I believe this is the most fertile ground for encouraging new vocations, and because quite frankly, I don’t feel up to the task and responsibilities linked with strong leadership.