Some have lamented that leadership is lonely. The unique pressure and responsibilities that leaders face can push some leaders to isolation. But wise leaders reject the temptation to remove themselves from others. Great leaders know they need others for both encouragement and wisdom. Here are three types of friends that every leader needs:
1. A “Been There” Friend
A “been there” friend is someone who is more experienced than you, someone who has walked the road longer than you have. A “been there” friend is someone you can seek input from and who offers you insight. You need a friend you respect enough to listen to and who loves you enough to tell you the truth. A true “been there” friend offers you constructive feedback so you can grow and mature. Without a friend you can rely on for wisdom, your growth will be stunted.
2. A “Join Me” Friend
A “join me” friend is someone you invite along for the journey, someone you invest in, someone you develop. Leaders are responsible for future leadership, so leaders must invite others to join them. Not only are new leaders developed, but the leader is also impacted. Leadership development develops both the leader and the person being developed. When leaders distill their knowledge and transfer it to others, they always gain greater clarity and understanding. If you are not inviting others to join you, you are leading in isolation and not serving well.
3. A “No Matter What” Friend
A “no matter what” friend is the person who will stick with you through seasons of pain and seasons of joy. A “no matter what” friend always has your back. A constant friend increases your courage.
Put another way, every leader needs a “Paul,” a “Timothy,” and a “Barnabas.” The apostle Paul invited Timothy to join him as he traveled preaching the gospel and planting churches. Paul had been there before Timothy; thus, Timothy was able to learn from Paul, to take the things he heard Paul say and entrust them to others. Timothy became like Paul to others in that he invited others to join him. Barnabas (the son of encouragement) and Paul were friends and partnered together in the mission of making disciples.
Leaders who lead in isolation lead foolishly.