While watching the holiday classic White Christmas I was reminded of one of the common behaviours of a good leader. There is a scene in the film where Danny Kaye’s character is tasked with keeping the General from seeing his partner’s (Bing Crosby’s) announcement on the Ed Sullivan show. This is a challenge because the General’s character never misses the Ed Sullivan show. While I’m sure that the show was well received and provided a healthy dose of weekly entertainment, the General had another reason for his devotion to the show’s schedule – Ed Sullivan was one of his people.
Good leaders take ownership of their people beyond the circumstances that make them “their people”. To General Waverly, there was sentiment, there was pride and there was interest in his former soldiers. They fought a war together, through thick and thin, and the men knew that “they ate, then he ate.” General Waverly was a man who had sacrificed for his men and shared their hardships. He was proud of what they had become, and seeing Ed Sullivan on television, a star who had made something of himself, elicited a sense of pride and accomplishment for the General. This is often because a leader is attuned to the development of their people and sees their growth and transformation over time. This can be a great burden because leaders feel responsible for the directions their people take, but it can also be a great source of pride in seeing their people overcome challenges, invent new things and become something new.
Lastly, the General shows and expresses interest in the doings of his people, even when they don’t know it. Ed Probably didn’t know that his former General was a dedicated fan. Christian leaders will pray for their people, interceding on their behalf from a distance, advocate for their people when possible and seek God’s fingerprints on their people’s lives in order to learn from their experiences. In general, leaders will share in their people’s accomplishments and relate their accomplishments to others in their life. Sometimes they will even support their people, often in ways that will receive no thanks in return, be it buying a product, donating to a cause or mobilizing their people on the behalf of one another.
If you’ve had a good leader in your life, then you can be sure that they’re watching your show when they can. They’re still thinking about you, cheering you on, and wishing you well because good leaders are Loyal to their people.