Sanders writes, “You can measure leaders by the number and quality of their friends” (p.70).
You can have a lot of friends and have no depth. You can have one really good friend, but everyone else doesn’t like you. Leaders need to have both. The key words here are appropriate transparency. You can’t be everyone’s closest friend. But you also can’t merely have superficial buddies.
“Leaders must draw the best out of people, and friendship does that far better than prolonged argument or mere logic” (p.70)
Friendship, in essence, is love actualized. We welcome people into our lives and want to enter into their lives. We want to hear their hurts and longings and celebrations. We look to the sunset and want to declare the beauty to another. We want to embrace. We want to know that we are not alone. In that, God provides friends. Friends will keep you grounded when your tendency is to be puffed up with egotistical helium. Friends will push you when you want to wallow in self-doubt and self-pity.
Yes, leadership is lonely. Therefore, intentionally bring people with you. Help them understand your particular struggles and your mess. Assure them that you too are following the Chief Shepherd. You too have faults and sin and issues. God gives us friends to remind us that Jesus also calls us “friends” (John 15.15). How glorious that the one who keeps the planets in orbits by the word of his power also speaks the word “friend” to you. Our friends are manifestations of that sovereign word of power spoken over us. Though we can only read Jesus’ word to us, we can hear it through the lips of another Spirit-indwelled friend.