"Abram said to Lot, “Please, let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are relatives." (Amplified Bible)
The obsession with position has plunged many leaders and those aspiring for leadership positions into friction, infighting and acrimony. By equating leadership to fame, power and position, they go into overdrive to be in the spotlight. Whilst the thrust of leadership should be to improve and empower people, leaders who are caught up in rivalry over rank often focus on the business of advancing their POSITION AT THE EXPENSE OF THE PEOPLE.
Consumed with the desire to exercise authority, the early Disciples sparred about who to take up the leadership of the team when Jesus departs. Their desire to be in charge and exercise authority betrayed their ignorance of the portrait of true leadership. They equated leadership to exercising dominion, power and not as a service to the people. However, when Jesus got wind of the argument, which lingered among them, He weighed in to provide perspective about what leadership entails. The Master clarified that leadership is essentially about serving others and not the other way round. If people development and welfarism are not at the centre of your pursuit for leadership, your motive for leadership is of course fraught with selfish interest. It is out of character for a condescending leader to serve with humility because he is bent on asserting his superiority over others. This disposition would certainly undermine his leadership.
It is worthy of mention that a leader’s failure to see leadership beyond the PERKS IT ATTRACTS COULD STIR UP RIVALRY OVER RANK. Abraham demonstrated an exemplary leadership by looking beyond the perks of leadership, when a friction broke out between his herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot his nephew. Whilst Abraham would have exercised his seniority over Lot, he chose to play the second fiddle. He gave Lot the priority and free pass to pick and choice his preferred land for his livestock. What Abraham averted was the rivalry over rank while dispensing with the perks of seniority. This implies that the leadership style that is pursued in the best interest of the people is often woven with the thread of sacrifice and selflessness. However, it strengthens relationships and fosters peace.
Those characterized as good leaders would back off the rivalry over rank if they see themselves as PARTNERS IN PROGRESS. This represents the right attitude, which paves the way for leaders to close ranks towards the achievement of a common goal. Since the goal to be achieved is more important than advancing the individual role of the team members, the assertion of superiority should not be allowed to get in the way of accomplishment of a common good. Apostle Paul didn’t allow his intellect and abundant revelation to get to his head as a renowned Apostle of Christ. He collaborated with the other Apostles in advancing and propagating the Gospel. If your leadership position is driving you to a false sense of superiority while nudging you with the desire to pull rank on others, you might be igniting the avoidable fire of rivalry, friction and infighting that often litter and screw up the leadership landscape. Hence, be willing to back off the rivalry over rank in your leadership journey, as you keep your eye on partnering towards progress, without allowing your position and perks of leadership to ruin the journey.