Leading with Both Hands

repost from 3.1.10

A few months back I had the opportunity to visit Savannah, Georgia. The place is dripping with southern charm. Great food, good places to run, and plenty of interesting things to see have moved Savannah near the top of my list of favorite cities.

Savannah is full of small squares and parks steeped in culture and history. I even visited the park where Forrest Gump sat on a bench dreaming about his Jenny.

However, my favorite spot in Savannah was Reynolds Square.  It is the place where you will find a statue that honors the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, who lived there and served as pastor to the colonists in 1736-37.

The Wesley statue is very moving once you understand the mind of the sculptor, Marshall Daugherty.

He describes his portrayal as follows: “Wesley’s right hand reaches out as he preaches as if to communicate that all the world was his parish; the Gospel was available to all.  His left hand holds a Bible and is much more intense recognizing that it was in contact with the Almighty as it held the Holy Scriptures.” . . . powerful images of Wesley’s understanding of integrity and influence.

At the base of the statue are two quotes from Wesley himself. The first, “While we live, let us live in earnest.” And secondly, “I look upon all the world as my parish.” These two statements are good guiding principles for leaders.

On the one hand,  the best leaders are the ones who know what they do well and do it with zeal.  They “live in earnest,” true to their area of passion and expertise, and undivided in their commitment to their mission. Their character is the foundation for their work.  This is the integrity side of leadership.

On the other hand, leaders need to know their audience.  Wesley understood that his message excluded no one.  Your product or service may not be so broad.  But great leaders understand their limitations and don’t overextend themselves. The best companies do a few things well and stay laser focused on their market.  This is the influence side of leadership.

I hope you are leading with both hands. One hand rooted in a strong, authentic character committed to a set of noble ideals.  And the other hand focused on leveraging your voice to make a difference in the lives of those you serve.





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