A good leader carries the burdens of whomever he is responsible for. For Jesus, this meant carrying the punishment for our sin—carrying the Cross to his death. For Deborah as an Old Testament judge, it meant listening to the problems of the people and settling their disputes. For Esther, it meant risking her own life to request an audience with the king of the civilized world. For Noah, it meant building an ark to carry the animals and his family. Good leaders carry.
When traveling in a group, a leader should be last to bed and first to wake. Breaks and naps during the day allow this to work, usually while the group is busy with “fun time” or some recreation that requires fewer members of the leadership team. Even Jesus would steal away from time to time for prayer. He even stole a nap in the boat during a storm since he knew all would be well.
When taking a long walk, carry important articles for other people. A leader should go through the physical training to become strong enough to handle a heavier load. When the leader needs help, he asks for it. This cultivates mentoring future leaders. No leader works alone, but every leader should bring strength to the team.
Many burdens have been carried by leaders without the group ever knowing. Never expect an applause or a thanks. Leading is not for those who like award receptions. Victory for the team serves well enough as the leader’s prize. If the team wins a trophy, the leader is most honored to have it hosted by the team or one of its members.
Much of the work of a leader is preemptive and preparatory. Drafting a thorough plan, memorizing the road map, making and remembering the many lists of to-dos and inventory, keeping track of the money—even though someone else serves as treasurer—a leader must know when and how to act. Never rely on an active GPS as a leader; know the map by heart as both a backup plan for when—not if—technology fails, and as a show of competence and proof that the group won’t get lost.