Leadership in an age of few leaders and even the loss of the art of leadership
In a day and age when leadership as an art, where the character, virtue of real leaders who take a people beyond their expectations, who accomplish great things and make their people better than they would have been without that leader are all but lost. Sure, we have leaders who pragmatically in a Darwinistic manner accomplish immediate goals, from the ends justifies the means philosophy of some to the profit equal success, win equal success models. Few and far between are leaders that inspire, change, mold, inflate other to new heights. In my days as a leader there was a definition of leadership that motivated people to come together and accomplish tasks that were not possible alone, or they did not want to do (like charge into enemy fire). Yet today, much later, leadership is very different. That definition is incomplete… my definition of leadership today includes shaping people, legacy (which one only cares about in the 2nd 1/2 of life), empowerment, and what seems to be completely missing: courage. Leadership requires courage – courage to do the right thing in the tough unpopular moment, but also to confront what is wrong, to stand up over and over again against what is wrong, or may seem right while you yet know it is not good in the long run (though it might “fee'” good at the moment).
Such is the case at Penn State. I am 100% for the NCAA penalties. They knowingly cover it up, denied it, allowed him to continue. They – including JoPa – knew what they were doing… it had to do with money, reputation, and fame. Yet, the cost of the inevitable exposure is so much higher! We look back and some moan that his legacy is diminished and disrespected… I say, no – he disrespected and diminished his reputation and legacy. He destroyed Penn State’s football, and the administration brought on the harsh penalties. What I can promise is that every school in the NCAA took notice, and if they are not above it, universities are seriously considering their own behaviors and leadership. Yes, the cost for courage is costly and it would have had a toll (even if dealt with from the start) BUT the cost of the denial is so much worse..
No Paterno brought it upon himself. Penn State brought it upon themselves. The example has been made, and the NCAA (a huge profitable industry) made the courageous and tough decisions that this cannot happen again. If only JoPa had done the same. If only Paterno had been the courageous leader at the beginning?? The courage of Paterno would have made him and Penn State would have been bigger. Sanduski? Absolute disgrace – and his wife too for her denial and what they slyly brought upon the school. Oh, if only JoPa had possessed the deep courage of a real leader.
God calls us to live out our mandate – and today that requires courage. I get a lot of flack for standing by my convictions, especially when they do not agree, not with non-Christians or “progressive” Christians, but when my convictions and mandates call me to be prophetic, with Evangelicals who’s positions I feel are strongly driven by a social rudder, a nationalistic theology and not Biblical. It took a lot of courage for most of the people we read about in the Bible – and all of them humble no bodies. Even King David was a peasant sheep herding kid…a nobody. Courage – the real test of a leader.