Perhaps your people think you walk on water, but who has the authority and permission to point out the leaks in your boat? I’ve been around leaders for quite a number of years. I’ve worked with all kinds of leaders in 18 different churches since becoming a Christian. I’ve seen all kinds of leadership styles and philosophies at work.
In today’s Post I share an observation I’ve both experienced as well as read/heard about.
When a leader has experienced great success, people begin to think they can do no wrong—until they do! The followers come to believe that everything this leader seems to touch turns to gold. They are brilliant, gifted, anointed. Pride over what has been accomplished moves into the center of the leader’s thoughts and all the accolades and admiration gives them an inflated view of their own importance.
“But when he (Uzziah) had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.” ~ 2 Chronicles 26:16 NLT
In my thinking I expand “powerful” to—popular, successful, admired, appreciated.
Instead of this “success” resulting in gratitude and thanks to the Lord as well as dependance and humility, it can lead to pride resulting in all kinds of additional sin—which will, over time, will bring a leader down. We have all seen this over the last several years with prominent and successful leaders in the USA.
There comes a time when many of the leader’s followers think their leader walks on water, due to all the good things that have happened; but hopefully there a few people, maybe only one, who has God-given authority, permission and courage to point out to said leader there are leaks in the boat; that the leader is not as great as he/she thinks they are. That there are some things that need immediate attention before the boat begins to sink.
There comes a time when other leaders around this leader don’t want to mess with “Success,” don’t want to rock the boat, point out leaks, challenge some decisions or thinking! Maybe they will be fired for speaking up, or at least be marginalized and have responsibilities taken from them. Is it worth the risk they may be thinking? We allow competence to become more important than character. We reward competence and overlook serious character flaws—the kinds of flaws that will result in a leaky boat and soon a sinking boat.
Years ago I was part of a Billy Graham crusade in San Diego. Grady Wilson, one of Graham’s associates, was speaking at a church in the area a day or so before the crusade was to begin. In a Q&A session someone asked Grady how Billy had remained humble in view of all his Incredible success. To this day his response is emblazoned in my brain and heart,
Grady said, “When the team first formed, we made a deal with Billy that if God would keep him anointed, we would keep him humble.”
The team around Billy had been given authority, permission and possessed the courage to bring potential leaks of the team boat to Billy’s attention, with the understanding that Billy would listen and take to heart what he would hear from his team.
David had both Jonathan and Nathan speak into his life—Jonathan to encourage him and Nathan to confront him (point out the leaks).
I’m so thankful that, over the years, God has given me people (starting with my wife of 55 years, Susan) to make me aware of “leaks” in my leadership. I’d be a complete fool not to listen.
“Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it.” ~ Psalm 141:5 NLT
How are you doing on this fellow leader? Who has been given the right to speak truth to power when many think you walk on water? Who are the faithful “Leak-Detectors” you listen to?