May 29, 2013

“Be careful how you act; don’t be fools, be wise; make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good…” – Ephesians 5:15-16

One of my favorite movies of all-time is “Remember the Titans”. If you haven’t seen it, it’s based on the true story of an African-American high school football coach (Herman Boone) during his first season with a new team that has recently been racially integrated.  It’s a great movie with a powerful story line that deals: racism, leadership, unity, trust, right, wrong and attitude.

There are so many great scenes in this movie, and one of the more pointed scenes involves Julius, a talented African-American defensive player, and Gerry (pronounced Gary), a Caucasian defensive player who is also the captain. In order to build unity, Coach Boone orders all the players to get to know something about each other personally, and until they do, they will practice 3 times a day.  It’s obvious that Gerry and Julius don’t like each other and they certainly don’t trust one another, but one day after practice …out of total frustration with the continued 3-a-days, Gerry initiates a conversation with Julius.

The conversation is tense, but brutally honest: Gerry tells Julius that he is “nothin’ but a pure waste of God-given talent…” Julius responds: “Why should I give a hoot about you, huh?  Or anybody else out there?  You want to talk about waste? You the captain, right?”  Gerry: “Right” Julius: “Captains are suppose to be the leader, right?”  Gerry: “Right” Several other exchanges are made between the two that lead to Gerry saying: “See Man …that’s the worst attitude I ever heard.” To which Julius responds: “Attitude reflects leadership, Captain”

This is a turning point in the movie as Gerry begins to lead with a new attitude. Its Gerry’s attitude that not only leads to him and Julius becoming best friends, but it brings the team together and that team becomes the State Champions of Virginia the very same season.

This scene makes me think: “How’s my leadership? Is it effective? How do those I lead reflect it back to me?”  Those are some very tough questions to ask of oneself, but to really measure our effectiveness as a leader, we have to look at how it’s reflected by those we lead.  Those we lead look to us for direction, guidance, and inspiration.

So how are you leading and are you effective?  Where can you grow and what can you do better? Arguably one of the biggest challenges for most leaders is maintaining a good attitude!  You may not think of yourself as a leader, but we all have influence with those we associate …how’s your attitude?  If it’s poor, you can bet your leadership is less than it could be!

Additional passage: Philippians 2:4-5