Leadership comes with responsibility but each season has different responsibilities.
This month I would like to differentiate between A responsibility and THE responsibility.

Having A responsibility suggests that we have a part to play in the whole. Having THE responsibility suggests we carry the full weight of what we are leading. It’s important to understand whether we are carrying A responsibility within a larger context, or whether we carry the full responsibility.

Deborah models this well, knowing where her responsibility began and ended, understanding how to take others along the way, involving them in the leadership process but carrying the weight of the full responsibility.

Let’s look at the difference between the two.

A RESPONSIBILITY – is given to build leadership character, confidence and competence, allowing the potential leader to grow as they hold that responsibility. How people build and lead in the A season increases capacity for how and whether they build and lead in the THE season. Many of us are called to, and comfortable with carrying A responsibility, but are less inclined to take on THE full responsibility. This may be to do with our call, which is to be part of a vital and energetic team, and that’s a great thing.

Conversely, it may be that we’re too comfortable, causing us to be unwilling to take up places of THE responsibility. It’s important to regularly ask questions of ourselves. Where do I need to step up and out? What fears or reservations do I need to face up to, recognising that I can, and maybe should, be carrying more responsibility for my leadership setting.

In addition, leading with A responsibility has another benefit, and that is humility. Lifelong learners and leaders benefit from walking in the humility of following as well as leading. Doing that prepares and envisions us for the next stretch. Even when we are used to carrying THE responsibility as part of our normal leadership role, being part of a team and facilitating someone else’s vision provides us with the character enlargement that comes with being a supporter rather than playing the lead role. This is equally important and necessary for the Kingdom. When leaders focus on their own responsibilities, biased toward what they are doing, they often lose sight of the fact that God encourages us to use some of our time, service, talents and gifts for the work and vision of others.

THE RESPONSIBILITY – If you are a leader who usually holds THE responsibility, be aware that one of the main reasons for your leadership call is to multiply. Using Deborah as the example, who are you inviting along with you to take A responsibility, within the full scope of your responsibility? Who might you raise up with you along the way so that there will come a time when it will be they who are carrying THE responsibility rather than you?

My encouragement for all of us is to prayerfully reflect on your current leadership responsibilities. Leadership that flourishes does well to be involved in both arenas.