The Insightful Leader

The age of the internet has overloaded our lives with information. For most individuals around the world, information is no longer about accessibility, but time. We can get our fingertips and eyes on anything, but we don’t have time to engage all of it. Not even close.

dense oregon forestI had two hours free on a weeknight last week. I could have read a book. I could have read the 159 unread blog posts in my blog reader. I could have sit on the back deck eating ice cream. I could have turn on the basketball game. I could have watched one of the 29 shows saved on my DVR. I could have prayed. I could have gotten on Twitter and Facebook, which is essentially crawling into the wormhole.

Where to even begin? It’s paralyzing.

I think we’re all lost, or distracted, or overwhelmed. Maybe all those things, all at the same time. Each day we take in far more information than we ever have time to process. The result is stressed out people who can’t figure out what is going on around them.

The list is extremely short, but there are a few men and women who I make a point to read and listen to everything they put out. And the answer to “why” helps paint a picture of the kind of leader our current society needs.

These men and women are leaders who provide insight into an overloaded world, helping me sift through the mud to make sense of it all. What most people need is not more information, it is the ability to understand.

This is one reason I decided to attend seminary, and is one reason I see the immense value of higher education. Nothing can replace the formation I received through five and a half years of consistently sitting under the teaching of professors, fellow students, and the course work that came along with it. Not only did I gain information, but I gained tools that help me engage this world full of information.

The book of Proverbs highlights “wisdom” as the great achievement of godliness. When I think of the men and women who are able to wade through the murky waters of our overwhelmed-with-information-world, it is wisdom that comes to mind. They, of course, would never describe themselves in that way, but wise is what they are.

Here’s a few common denominators of what wisdom looks like lived out from them, and is also what makes them insightful leaders:

  • They are slow to speak, and quick to listen.
  • They value the consistent engagement of God’s Word.
  • In a crowded room they are often the last to share their opinion.
  • They look at how far they have to go before looking at how far they’ve come.
  • They ask questions before giving answers.

I can’t encourage you enough to find some of these wise, insightful leaders. Be around them as much as you possibly can. Watch them, and learn from them. Someday you can play their role in someone else’s life.