Last week we had our Church conference and while the whole event was fantastic there was one leadership analogy that really stood out for me, the difference between the 'Travel Agent' leader and the 'Tour Guide' leader.
A Travel Agent is someone who plans a journey for you but does not join you. In fact, while you are on your journey the travel agent sits back in their office completely oblivious to everything you are experiencing. Be it rain, hail, storm, snow or Yeti attack but the travel agent will know nothing of it until too late. If there are bumps in the road and you wanted the travel agent's advice, you could call and they could give you instruction, albeit from a distance on where to go next, but they definitely are not a part of what is going on, bleeding with you!
Regardless of what is going on in the field, the travel agent really just wants you to complete the current journey so he can get you hooked into the next journey and somehow collect the commission from your success.
The Tour Guide, on the other hand is very different. The Tour Guide is committed 100% to going on a journey with you. She knows the way, not always because they have been there, but because they have committed to researching and talking to people who have been there before. When it rains, they also get wet, when it snows, they also get cold, when there is a Yeti attack the can help in the situation, right there, right then. The journey is complete when you all get there! The tour guide is there, they know when things happen, however they are not necessarily doing all the rides intended for the tourist, the tour guide knows when to stand in front of the group sharing information and leading from one place to the next, but she also knows when to stand back and allow the tourists to do the touristy things.
I am not suggesting that you are one or the other, most leaders are both depending on the task at hand. The biggest question is, are you aware of when you are leadering as a travel agent and when you are leading as a tour guide?