If You Won’t Lead, Get out of the Way

Marriages, businesses, churches, and every part of the world are in constant need of leaders.

Yesterday, former Texas Rangers 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler made some scathing comments about his former team as well as their general manager. Kinsler was traded to the Detroit Tigers this off-season to make room for younger players and to help the Rangers fill a bigger need at first base with their acquisition of Prince Fielder.

Kinsler was an All-Star player for the Rangers for almost a decade and a fixture on both of their World Series teams. Being traded was a surprise for him but one he was comfortable with as he had clearly become unhappy in Texas. He didn’t agree with the new direction the team was going and had made that known on numerous occasions. He was vocal in his opinions about how the team had parted ways with former MVP Josh Hamilton and longtime clubhouse leader Michael Young.

“The team had changed. It was not the same personalities, not the same players, not the same chemistry. To be traded, it was refreshing to start new.”

But none of that really matters because Ian Kinsler never ran the Rangers. He’s a player. And the Rangers were far from re-building but it wouldn’t have mattered if they were.

Kinsler became the longest-tenured Ranger and was asked to step into a leadership position. He declined. He failed to step up. He chose to be selfish and focus solely on himself when his team needed him the most.

“I was bogged down. They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I’m performing in the game.”

Kinsler failed in the same way many people do today…

  • A wife is unsatisfied in her marriage because she needs her husband to put the video game controller down and step up and be a leader.
  • A business decides to head in a new and exciting direction but fails to make the necessary shift because leadership was comfortable with the way things were.
  • The Church in America is in massive decline due in part because people refuse to change and adapt to new ways of ministry (with an unchanging message) because “That’s just not the way we do things” or “This is how things have always been done here.”
  • A family member is in need and someone knows how to help but it would require an intense amount of sacrifice for a short period of time. The short-term sacrifice is not seen as worth it and the family member does not receive the help he/she so desperately needs.

The Rangers ultimately parted ways with Kinsler because they needed a leader and he wasn’t interested. Their parting message was simple and it applies in every area of our lives as well:

Four Things Leaders Do (and so should you)

  1. Leaders step up to fill a need. Leaders that step up for the very first time are able to do so because of the leaders that have already poured into them. You don’t need a long leadership resume to step up and fill a need when one arises.
  2. Leaders value the team above themselves. Husbands, value your wives more than yourself. CEOs, stop pillaging your companies for undue bonuses. Think of the people’s backs from whom your salary originates. Christians, church is NOT all about you and your preferences. It’s also not about your pastor’s preferences. It’s about living and inviting others into the radical, upside-down kingdom of God.
  3. Leaders know their role. Ian Kinsler was never in charge of deciding who he played with. He didn’t make calls on who stayed or went. Effective leaders focus on what lies within their control.
  4. Leaders replace themselves. This is one of my favorite aspects of the Church. I love seeing home groups multiply into several home groups. I have the undeserved joy of being able to disciple my best friend who has been a Christian almost a year and now he is discipling someone as well. Leaders take the time to invest their passion and knowledge into the next generation of leaders.

The world needs leaders today. Will you step up?

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