The Meaning of Leadership

I had the wonderful opportunity to give a workshop yesterday to a phenomenal group of leaders at St. Lawrence, the Martyr, Catholic Church in Santa Clara, California. The topic was on the Meaning of Leadership.

I played this video and talked about the difference between doing leadership and being a leader. Many people want to be a leader, but they don’t want to do leadership. They want the title, but don’t want to do the work.

At the same time, many people want to be a leader, but they have never analyzed why. Why do you want to be a leader? Sometimes, I struggle with entitlement. I’ve been a leader in ministry for over 10 years now and sometimes I feel I deserve this privilege or that right. The fact is that I don’t deserve anything. As a leader, I have to constantly work  and earn any sort of respect or privileges.

In fact, there is in inverse relationship between the rights I have and the responsibility I have as a leader. As the chart below depicts, the more responsibility I have as a leader, that decreases my rights.

Let me explain. As a leader, I have gained responsibility. With that, I have lost my right to use social media to bad mouth people. I have lost my right to cut other drivers off on the freeway. I have lost my right to drink too much alcohol. Why? Because people recognize me as a leader. People know that I work for a church. People expect a lot from me as a leader. Because of that, I have lost the right to do whatever I want. Great influence comes with great responsibility and a decrease in rights.

Once a leader, always a leader. The example you set outside the church is just as important as the example you set inside the church.

This inverse relationship between rights and responsibilities is at the heart of what it means to be a servant leader. Modeled by Jesus in John 13: 1-20, “fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power,” Jesus bends down to wash the feet of his disciples, the dirtiest part of the body in Jesus’ time. Jesus, as a leader, gave up all his rights, even though he had the power of God. He lost so many rights that he even lost the right to live. Hence, the crucifixion. Jesus served, and so must we.

The biggest thing that either helps or hinders our ability to be a servant leader is our EGO. Is our EGO…

  • Edging God Out

Or

  • Exalting God Only

Constantly, I have to work hard to put my ego in check and stay focused on exalting God.

If leadership is influence, then influence means we have great responsibility. Great responsibility causes us to forgo some of our rights. It comes with the territory.

Question: Do you agree or disagree with me about my analysis of a leaders rights vs. responsibilities? Why?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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