Before you dismiss this as cute cliché, let me say that after 75 years of life and 47 years of ministry, I am more convinced than ever that this is true.  

There are countless intelligent and capable leaders who never reach their full God-given potential due to a poor, or downright nasty, attitude toward life and people.  They are too brilliant for their own good and the good of the team. In fact, it is often not about the team at all, but about them. This is where their attitude begins to go south.

When my son Dan was on the high school tennis team, I tried to attend all of his home matches.  Sometime during the season he asked me to observe one of the more talented players on the team, which I did.  I was not impressed.  

No, I take that back. I was impressed.  

He left me with the impression that he was an angry, insolent, arrogant young man who was full of himself. He looked like he was emulating the antics of John McEnroe by throwing his racquet, loosing his temper and reaming out everybody within hearing distance. He was long on aptitude (God-given ability) but short on attitude, which in turn negatively affected his game and his teammates.

Zig Zigler use to refer to this kind of attitude as



I would rather work with a person who has a great attitude and an okay aptitude than a person with a poor attitude and a great aptitude.  As I move into the twilight years of my life and ministry, I am praying more than ever that the Lord Jesus will deliver me from harmful attitudes such as:

Anger, bitterness, whining, fault-finding and blame-shifting. One of my early mentors asked me to pray that he wouldn’t become a bitter old man.  I didn’t understand it then but I do now after meeting many bitter older leaders.

My wife’s grandfather had a sign that read: “The thing to remember, the thing to do is be the construction gang, not the wrecking crew.”