Alistair Clarkson is perhaps the most successful modern AFL coach. Multiple premierships but more than that, so many of his associate coaches have gone on to success at other clubs.
Today he was featured in a press conference at his new club, North Melbourne. He talked about how he would be surrounding himself with other leaders who would push him but more than that, they would protect him from himself. It reminded me of the proverb, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14 NLT)
Alistair recognises a really important aspect of leadership. While he is the senior leader and presumably will have the final decision making power, he consults often with those whom he has surrounding him. And these are not people who will just say what he wants to hear. They will be ones that will respectfully push and challenge him, particularly if he is making a decision which they take issue with.
I see two major challenges with leadership. Firstly leading out of your own insecurity. I have done this. It is when you make a decision based on your own reaction to something that triggers insecurity within you. A false or real fear that something you are insecure about will be revealed. Others around you will see this reaction and help you navigate through your own anxiety.
Secondly in not being aware of things about yourself that others can see. You don’t know what you don’t know….about yourself. These can be painful lessons. As you mature in life you can get very upset, humbled and frustrated by your own failings. I know I have. But having people who believe in you, are able to see your strengths, and encourage you to keep going are invaluable if you are to grow as a leader. But you also need them to speak truth into your life.
People who speak the truth in love. These are the type of leaders a good leader will surround themselves with. It does not mean you won’t lead and make the hard decisions. It does not mean that sometimes you won’t feel alone or misunderstood. I do want to say, you still need to lead. But wisdom is to do it in community.