Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


On Saturday, I went to a soccer game with TJ.  He was supposed to be playing, however because he pulled a muscle in his leg at practice, we were just watching.  And since I was not coaching, I was more of an observer at the game than I’ve been in a long time.

At the end of the game, like literally in the last 5 seconds of the game, the other team scored the tying goal and in the process, pushed TJ’s team one point out of the finals.  This resulted in one parent yelling to the ref his frustration and claiming there was 4 minutes left.

The Ref’s response?

He walked to midfield, looked at our sideline, and yelled, “What did you say?”  The man repeated his claim of time left and the ref then screamed while moving his hands as if he was declaring a base runner safe, “THE GAME IS OVER. DONE. OVER!!!” and then scowled at the sideline.

The Parent’s response?

He went over to the head quarters for the tournament to leverage his complaint.

The Sideline Ref’s response?

He loudly asked the entire group of parents if we heard what he said when the game was over and just kinda pitched a fit, claiming he said the game was over too.

The Commissioner of the Tournament’s Response?

She came down to the field and yelled at the coach and one smart mouth kid on our team, “DO YOU WANT ME TO CANCEL THIS TEAM?  DO YOU?”  Someone on the sideline, heard her rant and yelled “Who are you?”  She screamed back “I’m the commissioner.  I’m the one who puts on this entire tournament.  I’m in charge!”

My Response?

I just walked away and shook my head at the ridiculousness of it all.  I asked TJ what he thought of the fiasco.  He said people were mad and acting dumb.  I told him, “That my son was an exercise in unilaterally bad leadership.  You can’t lead from position.  All of them demanded the right to be heard by yelling and claiming position. All of them. Positional leadership is an oxymoron.”


#1. If I have to yell to gain power, I’ve lost all authority.   Sure, there are exceptions (like a fire or something),  but for the vast majority of the time, if someone in “leadership” has to SCREAM at their audience to be heard, they’ve only proven they have no leadership in the first place.

#2. When someone in a position of power says, “Because I’m the______________  (pastor, boss, parent, coach, president, ceo, etc.) and therefore I make the decisions”, they’ve actually reached for the very last leadership card.  When they throw that card first, they only prove they’re desperate for power.  It’s not the fastest way to gain it, it’s the fastest way to prove they never had it and what little they do have, will quickly be gone. They have no credibility cards left.

#3. Positional leadership is not leadership.   It’s power wielding, not follower gaining.  True leaders earn the right to be heard and work to gain influence.  Dictators don’t lead, they dictate. I don’t want to be a dictator as a parent, a pastor, a coach, or any other environment I’m in.  Positional leadership is cheap and weak sauce. If I never have to pull that card another day in my life, I’ll be way ok with it.  I need to work hard so I don’t lead like this.


  1. Great thoughts. Reminds of the all-too-prevalent parenting tactic of “because I said so!” as an explanation for authority. It seems that the positional card gets thrown out there when emotions have boiled over beyond passion or reason; hence the screaming.

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