"There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it." - Sir J. E. E. Dalberg.
It is dangerous for leaders to assume that just because they hold the title or office of leader, it somehow makes them smarter, wiser, or more talented than their followers. That is the essence of the warning in today's quote. When you begin to believe you are special and that holding a title gives you some unique insight or edge simply because you hold the title, you are in danger of becoming an ineffective leader.
The leaders in Jesus' day fell into this trap, and it caused them to miss the Lord because they thought they were smarter and wiser than everyone else. Look at these two examples of what I mean:
Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet) (Mark 11:29-32).
In the case of John's ministry, the people knew that John was a prophet while the leaders did not - or knew but refused to acknowledge his leadership. In another instance,
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet (Matthew 21:45-46).
Once again, the people had better and more accurate spiritual insight than their leaders.
Unless a leader has regular and consistent inputs, and by that I mean education, a mentor's voice, or a leadership development program, that leader will eventually begin to rely on his or her title or position or authority. When that happens, the leader will cease to lead and begin to exercise control over his or her followers to maintain his or her leadership position - and that is true whether we are talking about a business or a church.
If you are a leader, what are you doing to continue to develop and grow as a leader? You cannot answer that you are leading, for that will give you experience but not necessarily develop you, unless you ruthlessly and regularly evaluate (and have others evaluate) your leadership style and decisions.
If you are a follower, do you dismiss what you sense and think because your leaders don't agree? As we saw in today's two examples, leadership is not correct just because they are the leaders. You should not surrender your wisdom or insight simply because your leaders disagree, for there is no guarantee they are any more accurate than you are.
The next time you insist you are correct simply because you are the leader or you back down from a position only because your leaders disagree, remember that leadership is no guarantee of correctness or superiority.