6 Leadership Insights I Learned From Kevin Rudd

I’m no political analyst. I am a pastor with a love for God, love for others and a passion to serve the world. I think Kevin Rudd shares these values. I don’t agree with everything, but I think he did some good during his time in the lime-light. I know it was not easy!

He visited NewHope in 2011. We were all impressed with his razor sharp intellect, winsome persona and commitment to issues of global justice. Here’s a few things I learned from K Rudd (the good and the bad) concerning leadership .

Say “Sorry!” His Sorry Speech was a brilliant piece of leadership. It did enormous good. We’ll remember this for a long time. There is great power in an apology. And you don’t have to be the one who did the wrong to help make it right. Pastors should be artists of the “sorry”. We could all use the word a bit more often!

Change your voice slowly. When Kevin “flipped” regarding the definition of marriage he left many of his supporters confused (I was one). I have no idea how long he wrestled in private but it was a break-neck turn in public. We didn’t see much anguish of heart in the search for truth and so it looked like political expedience. Pastors should change their minds over the course of a ministry but we should do it with open dialogue and a bit of visible wrestling. We’ll still disappoint people but they’ll know our hearts.

Read theology. Kevin is a Dietrich Bonhoeffer scholar. He reads N.T. Wright (he told me so himself). He thinks deeply about the ideas that undergird his policy commitments. This doesn’t make a person right all the time, but it does make our leadership powerful. We pastors will lead better when we read, study and think more.

Control your temper. That swearing thing wasn’t very impressive. I’m willing to cut Kevin some slack here. Even greater luminaries lost their temper (e.g. Moses). But it’s bad form and bad leadership. I do wonder if it’s partly why he did not enter the “promised land”.

Hang in there! What a bumpy ride Kevin endured. Twice PM, twice expelled. Loved and unloved. Hailed as great and derided as evil. He quit his seat in Parliament, but I’d be surprised if he’s done. He’s a stayer and that’s impressive. It takes guts to fall down in public and get up ready to lead again. That’s what Pastors MUST do.

Hold your evaluation. Kevin Rudd is stepping down. Most of his story is untold. I for one wish his term in politics could have been more productive. I think he is a good man whose gifts didn’t gain the traction they might have. I actually know lots of pastors who are in exactly that situation. God’s judgement of these things is different. I choose not to pronounce a final word on his life or mine or yours – not yet.

I hope Kevin can enjoy time with family, move on to new things and serve Australia in new ways with his considerable leadership ability and wisdom. All the best Kevin!

Posted by Allan Demond

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