In my own life I have been blessed by the example of many great leaders: People who have at time seemed like heroes to me; people who have set a great example by their apparent faith, courage, perseverance, passion for the lost and devotion to Christ. I sincerely count the influence of these people to be one of the greatest blessings of my life.
However, at times, observation of successful leaders has left me more discouraged than encouraged, more intimidated than inspired. Because their impact or success seemed so impressive it seemed unattainable. I struggled feeling like I could never achieve what these men had.
I’ve felt this way after leaving conferences, after listening to podcasts and after reading books. Perhaps you have too.
As I’ve talked with others, particularly other ministers and pastors, I’m convinced I’m not alone. Others have admitted to me that they too feel this way from time to time. This got me thinking. I’m sure the leader/communicator had every intention of encouraging and strengthening the hearers, but yet some left with the exact opposite feeling. Why is this and how can it be avoided?
I believe it is a heart problem which manifests as a communication problem. Getting the most out of any leadership conversation requires two attitudes from both the leader and the follower:
I’m convinced that part of the problem in the situations I mentioned was me. I wanted to be great but just didn’t feel like I measured up to the level of these other leaders that I looked up to. I was feeling a more than a little insecure. When in situations where you feel like you don’t compare to others, just admit it: You don’t! But this is should not lead to discouragement. Rather it should lead us to recognize that God has made each person unique and special.
Likewise, leaders and communicators also need to be secure. Few things will destroy you faster than insecurity. Leaders or those with a larger platform should be confident as well. I once heard a well known preacher say that he used to vomit every time before he got on stage he was so nervous. One key to his overcoming this was recognizing that it wasn’t about him, but about God. To help shift his mentality and his fears, he would take a step forward before getting on the stage and consciously think about stepping out of himself and his own weakness and into God and His strength.
When a leader roots her confidence more in herself rather than in Christ it is repels rather than attracts.
As a leader it’s easy to feel the pressure to impress others. There can be a great temptation for leaders to downplay or avoid talking about weaknesses and flaws. There is a subtle fear many leaders have that if they let others see the fullness of who they really are that they will loose credibility and shrink their influence. Leaders: be secure with you you are. There is nothing wrong with “putting your best food forward”, but don’t present an illusion of reality. Be secure enough to walk in integrity and present the real you, not just a heroic looking caricature of you.
Likewise, when you find yourself in a situation where you are not the one out front, be OK with it. Christ modeled this so beautifully. Unlike you and I, He actually had it all together. He was flawless and perfect. God incarnate. Yet, “he humbled himself, taking on the very form of a man”.
While on earth He listened to the instruction in the Temple and was obedient to his parents. He modeled humility for us. You don’t have to be in the spotlight at all times! My advice: do your best, and be secure with your current station in life. More opportunities will come as you humbly do your best in your current position. Don’t allow pride to poison your heart from receiving from those who are ahead of you or achieved more than you.
Question: Do you find it challenging to walk in both confidence and humility? Why do you think this is?