The First Person to Lead


Before you can lead others, you must first lead yourself.

Before you can lead others, you first must lead yourself. Socrates supposedly said, “Let he who would move the world first move himself.”

This doesn’t mean you have to talk to yourself or look in the mirror every morning to give yourself a pep talk. It doesn't mean ignore every other consideration and just do what pleases you.

It means that you must choose what kind of leader you want to be. This is where you begin developing your leadership DNA. Your response to these questions will determine what type of leader you will become.

Whom will I serve, others or myself? This is the most fundamental question about your leadership. Many leaders, if not most, seek to gratify their own egos and pursue their own personal agendas. Chuck Colson has said, “all the kings and queens of this world have sent their people out to die for them. Only One has ever died for His people.”

Whom will I seek to please, God or other people? The approval of others is a drug to which many people are addicted. Unfortunately, the nature of an addiction is an ever-increasing desire for something that has an ever-decreasing capacity to satisfy. This is not true of God’s approval. Knowing His smile on your life never loses its joy.

What will I live out, my calling or the calling others have for me? Someone has observed that at the moment of death for a codependent person, someone else’s life passes before their eyes. God has a purpose for each of us. However, so do other people. Which purpose will I embrace?

What will I focus on, the future or the present? Good leaders see far ahead into the future. They focus on what will be after their season of leadership is over. As a parent, a friend, and a minister of God, I must ask, “how am I preparing those around me for the time when they won’t be around me anymore?”

By the way, Jesus answered each of these leadership questions at the beginning of His ministry. In His baptism, He sought God’s approval and received it. In His temptation in the wilderness, He chose to serve others, pursue His own calling, and forgo immediate gratification for future impact.

Are you ready to lead like Jesus?

Written by Bret Selby

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