I am not a great leader.
In fact, there are times I’ve wondered if I am even a good leader.
I have positional leadership, but that does not mean I am truly a leader.
There are several reasons for this rather negative self-assessment, but the essence of my own evaluation comes from my failure to learn quickly and adjust. It’s one thing to make a mistake as a leader; we all do. But it’s another to make a mistake and not learn from it immediately. That reality describes me way too often.
My transparency is not one of false humility. I am sharing these five lessons with the hopes and prayers it will help others. These are lessons I’ve learned the hard way because I have too often failed to adjust even when I’ve known I need to do so.
1. I sometimes am unprepared to lead on a given day because I have not been in the Word. Think for a moment of the absurdity of my disobedience. I have the opportunity to be in God’s Word, to hear directly from Him, and I fail to do so. I cannot imagine a more blatant act of poor leadership than this one.
2. I have almost given up right before my greatest victories as a leader. I know. At least I didn’t give up. At least I got to realize God’s victories for me. But it begs the question: How many times have I really given up and, thus, failed to see His way to victory? How many times have I been a quitter instead of a leader?
3. I have made more mistakes by moving too slowly than moving too quickly. I knew I needed to make that personnel move. I knew it was best for the organization and, ultimately, the person involved. Wise counselors around me told me so as well. But I hesitated. I knew that delay would not solve anything. To the contrary, it would only exacerbate the problem. So I led from a posture of fear instead of faith. The problem ultimately was so much worse than it needed to be.
4. I have followed others dreams instead of my own. I’ve had a number of well-intended friends who “knew” what was best for my life. And though I really knew differently, I went their way instead of God’s way for my life. Every time, though I knew better, my decision ended up being a bad decision. There’s nothing wrong with seeking counsel. But it’s totally wrong to go down a path that is not your own.
5. I have failed at humility. I really thought I was this great guy who had the answers. Sometimes I thought I was the smartest person in the room. Too often I have shown my rear end (figuratively please) rather than show my heart. I am not God’s gift of leadership to the world. Unfortunately, I have sometimes acted like I am.
Again, my purpose in this post is neither self-deprecation nor false humility. The purpose is to provide a clear and urgent warning for others lest they go down the forsaken path I should have never traveled.
This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on November 28, 2016. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and nine grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.