“I’m In Charge Here”

The infamous words of General Alexander Haig who was present at the White House on March 31, 1981, when President Reagan was shot. He wanted to appear confident and assertive during this national crisis, but instead the country saw a man hungry for power and authority.


Anytime you have to tell people, “I’m in charge here,” it usually means you are not. You may have a title and position of authority, however, if people do not recognize your leadership and follow you willingly, most of the time you are simply a bully wanting your own way, regardless of your personality or decorum.

Bullies come in all sizes and shapes. Some use words, others use actions, paychecks, body language and attitudes, but all have one thing In common, they want their own way and will do just about anything to get it.

They come under the guise of wanting to help you. However, in the end its “My way or the highway.” A true servant-leader has no desire or ambition but serving. Not in a way of his or her own choosing, but the way that helps you the most. Not in a way that feeds their own ego or status the most.

“The servant-leader is a servant first, it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve first. That person is sharply different from the one who is leader first, the need for power or possessions. Between these two there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.” Robert Greenleaf, Center for Servant Leadership.

Many consider Robert Greenleaf as the originator of the 20th Century servant-leadership model, but servant-leadership has been around much longer. It began over 2000 years ago when a young carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth said in Mark’s gospel, “That is what the Son of Man has done: he came to serve, not to be served and give his life away in exchange for many who are held in bondage.” The Message Bible.

The position you hold, or the greatness of your task, has little to do with God’s call on your life as a servant-leader. General Haig wanted power and authority. Robert Greenleaf said serving should be a natural trait of all great leaders. God’s Son showed us through his life something entirely different. Servant-leadership has nothing to do with power and authority and it does not come naturally to most people, check out His “A” team.

Two characteristics of true servant-leaders are humility and the ability to wait. Your humility is the balance to your giftedness. We have too many Burger King Leaders, “I’ll have it my way—I’m in charge here.”

What about where you go every day? Are you leading, or are you just the one in charge? The first one inspires people to follow because they are confident you know where you are going and they will be a better person for following. The second one people begrudgingly follow because they need a paycheck until they can find a leader.