Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees!

Have you ever missed the proverbial forest for the trees?

It’s easy to do. We can get so caught up in the moment, the emotion, the complexity, the idea or the details that we lose the broader perspective of what’s really important.

This is a very real hazard in my leadership. As an organizational leader who seeks to develop other leaders, I can easily get lost in the “trees” of leadership. Everyday seems to bring a new leadership challenge that can be all consuming.

To help me navigate these leadership challenges, there’s an entire industry of leadership books, podcasts, tools, personalities, websites, and best practices. I’m thankful for the bounty of available resources, but I can easily get overly dependent, distracted or overwhelmed by these resources.

When this happens, I’m so far into the trees that I’ve lost sight of the forest. In this case, the forest isn’t what is really important. It’s who is really important. I can lose sight of the leader of leaders – Jesus.

There’s only one Jesus and He stands completely and wonderfully apart. He doesn’t share a philosophy, a perspective or a best practice. Instead, he is the way, the truth and the life.

As leaders we need to learn all we can from the resources available to us, but ultimately, we must continually stand in awe of Jesus. Reviewing Philippians 2:5-11 is a powerful reminder that Jesus was and is remarkably set apart:

  • Jesus rejected pride and instead chose humility.
  • Jesus rejected entitlement and instead chose sacrifice.
  • Jesus rejected celebrity and instead chose servanthood.
  • Jesus rejected independence and instead chose submission.
  • Jesus rejected worldly power and instead chose to exclusively seek His Father’s will and glory.

This radical leader of leaders then turns to you and to me and says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). This is the call to a lifelong adventure of obedient followership. Only this followership makes you and I leaders worthy of being followed.

Whatever your leadership challenge today and whatever leadership wisdom comes your way tomorrow, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus.

Steve A. Brown

President, Arrow Leadership