As I’ve stated in my previous “Leadership Lessons from Napoleon” posts, I believe that our young Napoleon Dynamite who is often quoted has several leadership lessons we can glean from.
I recognize this idea seems far fetched, out there and hilarious at times but I stand by the fact that he’s got some wisdom!
Today’s leadership lesson comes in the form of envy.
If you’ve watched the film this quote: “Shocks, pegs, lucky!” rings familiar in your ears. If you’ve not seen the film it could be a bit confusing, so let me explain.
Napoleon heads over to his friend Pedro’s house because of Pedro’s sweet bike. When Napoleon first saw the bike, he was green with envy and deeply desired the “Sledgehammer” to be his own. Later we see them going of some “sweet jumps” (pictured above) with the great, amazing bike.
I hope, at this point you are wondering: “What does this have to do with leadership?” because if you’re there, you are right where I want you to be.
Again, I realize it sounds far-fetched but it’s not. Napoleon was jealous of his friends resources and in a way he was blinded by his desire for the Sledgehammer to the point where he didn’t realize the things he already had. We don’t hear him talking about his things, simply how sweet Pedro’s things are and how he wants to go off sweet jumps.
In leadership I fear we too can look at other people’s “stuff” and lose focus of what we already have. Maybe you have a friend in leadership who has more staff than you, more money than you, more technology than you, more volunteers than you or simply better things.
When we interact with people who have “more” or “better” things, we can lose sight and focus on what we don’t have. This is very very bad.
Why so bad you might ask? Well, if you focus on the things you don’t have and not the things you do have you will never be satisfied. Your heart will never be content and your leadership will be shallow at best trying to attain certain things. Also, once you get some of those certain things you were striving for…there is always someone in line who has more or better things than you do, which then will cause more discontentment.
We as leaders are placed where we are for a specific reason. We were made as we are with what we have for a purpose. If we keep trying to catch up to the “leadership Jones’s” we will suffer deeply in finding out our personal potential.
Recently, I posted about a book called A Beautiful Mess by Mark Oestreicher where he talks about the dangers of being too “resourced” in youth ministry. His point was not just about being jealous of what others have but that too often when we get what we want we stop actually doing ministry because we rely fully on our resources.
As I confess in my post about the book, I found this to be true. Early on in youth ministry I was in a small church with a small budget and I suffered from envy over all the resources many folks had.
I said things like: “if I only had what they had, my ministry would be popping” which in hindsight is just plain stupid to say.
After my time in that small church, I moved into a position at a mega church and the resources rained down from on high! I quickly became too dependent on the resources and found myself not doing ministry by the power of the Spirit but by the power of the resource (which is much weaker in comparison).
So, Napoleon teaches another great leadership lesson in that we shouldn’t be jealous of other’s resources, but rather content with our lot as well as thankful for what we have!