April 21, 2006 Tony M.

Drive the Car

Recently, I gathered with a group of guys for breakfast and to talk about leadership. One of the guys was talking about the challenges he and his wife have faced in recent months with their marriage. We all face those challenges. No marriage is immune. He’s married to a very wise woman, though. His wife suggested that she was getting really tired of talking about all the things that they needed to fix in their marriage. She was tired of all the discussion.

She went on to liken their marriage to owning a car that’s always in the garage. You get in the car. Sometimes you even start the engine. Most times, though, the car is up on the lift so that you can tinker with it. You own the car, but you’re always under the hood trying to analyze what’s wrong with it and what needs to be fixed. One day she said, I’m tired of trying to figure out how we need to fix the car–I just want to drive it.

That’s powerful. And, the thought occurred to me: this is a leadership lesson. If God has gifted you as a leader then you need to lead. You can read about leadership. You can talk about leadership. You can go to leadership conferences and hear men and women share their greatest leadership lessons. You can analyze your leadership ability, and you can have others help you tweak your leadership skills. All of that is worthless, though, unless you eventually get behind the wheel and drive the car. Leaders will never become leaders unless they lead.

So, here’s my question for you: Are you a leader? If so, who are you leading? Where are you taking them? Are you surrounding yourself with other leaders? Do they have an opportunity to drive the car? Do they really have the opportunity to drive, or do you find yourself sitting in the back seat telling them how to drive the car? Turn here. Turn there. Slow down. Stay in the right lane.

Here’s the deal. Leaders want to know how the car they’ve been tinkering with will handle when they actually get on the highway and drive fast. Imagine owning a BMW that you never take out of the garage! That’s how leaders feel on your team when they never have the opportunity to lead.

So, where are you? If you’re a leader, are you leading? Are you allowing leaders around you to lead? At some point, you need to get the car off the lift and drive it.

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