I am reminded today, that those with influence direct the attention of those they influence, they reveal what is important (to them) and tend to shape the perspective/understanding/belief of those who are under their influence. This is a sobering reality, whether you are leading or following, but I can see evidence of this reality all around. Isn’t this fact one reason why the bible says that too many should not be teachers, because they will receive a stronger evaluation or judgement? Leaders will share in the responsibility of the outcomes they have influenced.How is this true?
Those who have influence provide routes of thought for those who receive their input. So, be careful who you look to for leadership, because their pattern of life is going to be imparted to you, not just what they are saying. When I first heard that leaders define reality for those who follow them, it made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to think of leadership in these terms. I don’t personally feel comfortable shaping someone’s reality toward my perspective.
But I began to see (for better and / or for worse) how this is true.
Those who are in leadership are looked to for the interpretation of events; past, current, and future. Consider the recent election when you think of this. Very many people are searching for someone who can explain what is really happening, and how to respond to this. They are asking for someone to frame reality for them, especially in the cases where there was an unexpected result. This kind of environment is very dangerous, because, those we look to for leadership are expected to be focused on what’s important, what’s essential. This is a big responsibility, and a frightening opportunity. What if you are being misled? What if you are misleading others? We must approach the idea of leadership with a strong degree of restraint and humility, and an ever present dependence on the Lord Jesus, the True Leader!
This is why media, and maybe particularly news media, has such a powerful impact in shaping perspective and training worldview. It tells you what it thinks is important, and then it interprets what it has just shown you (It already decided what was important / essential) toward it’s perspective, the worldview it is espousing. The forces that are driving these things are not benign, and we do great harm to ourselves if we give our trust to them without question. We have to shape our minds and thinking with reference to the Eternal God, and in obedience to Him.
How true this is!
Let’s think about the powers of insight and interpretation. Malcolm Gladwell – the acclaimed writer of the book The Tipping Point, and many others – has, in my opinion, a powerful gift of insight. He can see into the mystery of things that are going on, recognize there is something to be observed, and state it in a way that makes cat food seem otherworldly! But, again in my opinion, he is getting some of the interpretation wrong. Nevertheless, in the process, he is communicating a worldview, and seeking to validate it’s legitimacy / primacy. Doesn’t it seems to be a recurring reality, that those with a strong belief in their personal worldview feel the necessity to convert all others? Beware the purveyors of worldview / thought leadership! We have to realize that not everyone who is trying to grab our attention and convert our perspective intends to lead us into truth. The strongest safeguard in this war on thought and perspective is to daily verify that you are following the Truth, Himself!
God’s grace be yours in your journey!