Monday, March 14, 2011

Leadership and Pride

I'm reading Leading With A Limp by Dan Allender. I really like his approach. This is not a book review but I'm thinking about some interesting things as a result of the book.

I am reminded of the times when I have felt overwhelmed in a position of leadership. It usually happens when I am too busy. When the scope for action before me is so wide that I feel confused where to start, or what to choose to do. I think about people who have had ideas for action but I have tried to hinder them, rather than enable them. Not because I want to stop them, rather it's because their action makes me feel inadequate, that I'm not leading properly.

In that situation, my ego has become more important to me than the task we are trying to get done. It is hard to surrender myself and my pride when people are watching what I am doing. But leadership benefits from being humble enough to see beyond my own needs. I learn this lesson again and again when I realise that I am listening to my need to be in control or my need to be right. At that point I have to sacrifice those needs because they distract me.

When my needs consume me I am not available to the group. If a crisis hits I am too busy protecting my ego to listen to revolutionary solutions. But if I am not clinging to being right, then I can accept change or loss and not see it as an attack on myself.

I am struck by the fragility in all of us. Sometimes strong, powerful  leaders are actually protecting broken spirits, the best way they know how. Sometimes we are ruthlessly unforgiving of our leaders. Perhaps we would be more gracious if they could be more vulnerable about their human-ness.

Perhaps true strength is expressed in transparent honesty and rejection of the need to be in control.

"A broken leader is a sweet paradox of confidence and openness. If those I lead have already found out the worst there is to know about me - that I am a sinner - then the log in my eye is continually being removed in the midst of every crisis. The result is better vision and greater wisdom due to the freedom I feel to both live and die." Dan Allender, Leading With a Limp, p75.

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