I think I've seen every episode of the Andy Griffith Show. "I miss Mayberry, sitting on the porch, drinking ice cold cherry coke." (Thanks, Rascal Flatts.)
Andy's show was wholesome and packed with life lessons. I also believe we could isolate many of the 249 episodes and use the footage in leadership training classes. We watch as Andy leads men and his town through life. He was probably the first TV sheriff who didn't carry a gun. He didn't need "nary a one."
Sheriff Andy Taylor's leadership style was contrasted by his deputy's blundering attempts to lead. Deputy Barney Fife provides excellent seminar material for how NOT to lead. Barney's primary leadership authority came from the badge he wore with such pride.
John Maxwell points to this type of leadership as positional. Barney was mocked by townspeople as he could only point to his freshly polished badge for authority. Barney was eaten-up with his quest for power. And the writers of the show frequently placed Barney in a position to lead when Andy was away. Of course, a challenge was always thrown at poor Barney and he was sadly ill-equipped to handle anything. His badge didn't solve problems.
Leaders who boast of their positional authority have very few true followers. A mandate to follow me "because I'm in charge" is met with vocal mocking. Today, millennial staff members don't even try to hide their guffaws as reluctant soldiers ... they simply point, laugh and find an Andy to lead them.
Andy modeled servant leadership long before the concept entered leadership literature. Servant leaders do not require titles, trumpets or guns. Their power is ascribed from those who choose to follow.
I'll never forget Barney's response to a time when Andy's son Opie (Ron Howard) got into a little fight.
"Today's 8-year-olds are tomorrow's teenagers. Nip it in the bud. First sign of a youngster goin' wrong, you got it nip it in the bud. Nip it, nip it, nip it."
Bud nippin' rarely produces more than rebellion.
A servant leader doesn't need a badge.
"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He came from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and took a towel and wrapped Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was wrapped" (John 13:3-5).
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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