I had a conversation with a friend and community leader this morning. We were discussing a particular situation in our community and in the midst of the discussion I was reminded how extremely important it is for leaders to set the tone for those to whom they are providing leadership. It almost seems to obvious but I think that it is often overlooked. I do not think it matters what specific leadership role a person is placed in because this principle is for all leaders.
Coaches need to set the tone for the members of the team. I am sure that all of us have witnessed how whatever attitude or set of behaviors a coach demonstrates on the sidelines is often exhibited by a majority of the players on the field or court. If the approach from the sidelines is to win at all cost without concern about what means to accomplish the win are employed, the players are often ruthless and physically rough during the game. If the approach from the leader of the team is one that strives to use the skills and the assets of the team to win the competition, the players often demonstrate a desire to give 110% of themselves on the field.
The same can be found in the work place, civic organizations, churches, schools, and other parts of the community where leadership roles are established. The attitude and behaviors of the leader has a direct impact on the performance and attitudes of the individuals under that leadership. While there are always a varieties of leadership styles, because there are a variety of individuals, the fact remains that the tone which the leader sets will be the tone that resonates throughout the group.
I feel that Jesus demonstrated this for those who would follow him. He established an attitude and a set of behaviors that placed service above all else. He not only spoke of this approach but lived it out in his own life. His attitude and behaviors set a tone that still resonates within the ministries of the Church. While just like on a team not everyone on the team exhibits the tone of the leader, a majority will and does.
So my questions for all leaders is this: What is the tone that you are setting? Do you need to make adjustments in that tone?