Picture of Breakfast With Fred bookFred clearly identified his uniqueness and operated from a well-defined mission and vision. He made mental files and filtered information into these categories. He read and thought broadly, but always looked for principles which fit into three areas: philosophy, psychology, and theology. Of course, under the umbrella of those topics were most of the arts and sciences. He had no interest in mind-numbing literature or television produced strictly for distraction. He was a constant learner so that he could ever be stretching others.

Identifying the Mandate

Max DePree, former CEO wrote in his book Leadership Jazz, “The number one responsibility of top management is to define reality.”

That’s true whether we’re leading a corporation or a church. Establishing a mandate helps us to define that reality and to lead with integrity. Leaders need to ask 1) “Why are we operating?” 2) “What are we about?” 3) “What are we dedicated to?” Once these questions have been addressed and a consensus around the answers developed, a leader has a mandate. This creates a foundation upon which to determine programs, recruit leadership, establish organizational culture, and figure out what and what not to do. It is imperative to understand what not to do as much as what to do. The mandate keeps the organization from going off-task and wandering.

One critical function of a mandate is that it separates loyalty to the leader from loyalty to the cause. The leader has to say, “I am subservient to this mandate. You don’t serve me. You don’t make me happy. And don’t keep me in charge unless I fulfill the mandate.”

While the leader is responsible for the initiation of the mandate, he has to build a consensus for it among people. First, they must buy into the mandate, and second, they must be willing to dedicate themselves to carry it out. The mandate then becomes an “we” movement rather than an “us” and “them.”

Often leaders will put their friends, their faithful associates, and politically loyal people into key positions, whether or not they belong there. It’s easy to fall into this double agenda – this popularity contest. But we’re not in leadership to become popular; we are there to advance the mandate.

An organization must be built around a mandate rather than the personality of the leader. Too often, a leader leaves and a hole remains because the mandate didn’t become the dominant element – the charisma of the leader did.

Think carefully about: 1) What is my personal mission? 2) How do I lead from mandate and not just personality? 3) Who models mission-directed leadership for me?

Words of Wisdom: “We’re not in leadership to become popular; we are there to advance the mandate.”

Wisdom from the Word: “So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.”  (2 Timothy 2:1,2 NET Bible) (Paul’s mandate to Timothy)

To read more writings of Fred Smith go to www.breakfastwithfred.com

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www.breakfastwithfred.com is a constantly growing online archive of Fred Smith, Sr.’s lifework. You will find hours of written materials, answers to currently-asked questions, oneliners, archived weekly thoughts and more more. If you have been enjoying these weekly thoughts you will find a treasure trove of work on communication, leadership and self-development as you explore the thousands of pages on www.breakfastwithfred.com

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