I’ve seen some of the best fights and wrestling matches between my family members and friends battling over who was going to sit in in the front seat. We attempted to implement the “SHOTGUN” rule, but it never quite solved the issue without some kind of power struggle.
That same power struggle for the front seat continues as many ambitious leaders still attempt to climb the ladder, jockey for position, or play political games to emerge as the front man in their ministries and organizations. Recently, I did a Google search on the topic that unearthed 453,000 results confirming the gut feeling I had about this unhealthy epidemic in leadership. Some of the titles included:
- Get Noticed! Four Easy Ways to Climbing the Corporate Ladder
- How to Fast-Track Your Way Up the Corporate Ladder
- Earn $1 Million by Climbing the Corporate Ladder
- Rules for Women to Climb the Corporate Ladder
- Business Leaders Ignore Power Struggles at Their Organization’s Risk
- How Office Politics Work
The desire to be seated in places of power within ministries and organizations has been evident for thousands of years. There is a story in the New Testament Gospels that describe a power move by two of Jesus’ disciples James and John.
Mark 10:35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
So why has the struggle continued for so long? The struggle for the front seat is a pursuit of significance, power and security. Even when my cousins were wrestling for the front seat, a pecking order would be established, control of the radio station we listened to would be decided, and lets just be honest; their is just something that is cool about sitting in the front seat with the window rolled down and your right arm hanging out the window.
Everyone is crying out “shotgun” for the front seat for one of the following reasons:
The Seat of Significance – A seat that tells people I’m important. It is pursued by the positional leader who get their value and worth from a title.
The Seat of Power – A seat that lets people know I’m in control. Instead of influencing people this leader longs for power and decision making without anyones input.
The Seat of Security – A seat that only focused on my needs being met and not others. Leaders looking for security will obtain it at the expense of others.
These are brief definitions but they are at the root of the struggle. The good news is you don’t have to participate. Those willing to take the backseat can discover a better way to find their identity, influence their organization, and reap the rewards without climbing, jockeying or playing the game. Join me in this NEW blog series as I share my own personal journey over the next few months about how to lead better from behind.
Can you relate to the struggle for the front seat?