What Makes Or Breaks Us?
Would you agree that a person could be very knowledgeable yet very unchanged by that knowledge?
We know what food is good for us, yet many times we choose to ignore that knowledge. We know overspending is bad and will lead to serious consequences, yet we frequently overextend ourselves financially. We know that in order to become “great,” we need to humble ourselves and serve, yet too often we use our position and power to lord it over others and to manipulate them in order to satisfy our egos.
Knowledge is actually useless…unless we have the gumption and character to to be changed by it and to apply it.
And it takes a person of deep conviction and of character to put that knowledge into practice. Character is what eventually makes or breaks leaders, yet it’s the most ignored and overlooked aspect of leadership development today.
Why the Disconnect?
There are over 20,000 books on leadership out there, yet despite the fact that the leadership business is booming, it’s failing to produce good leaders.
According to the latest research by Barna Group:
- 90% of Americans believe the nation is facing a crisis of leadership
- 61% say they work for a bad boss
- 33% say that poor leadership at work is the most stressful part of their workday.
To bring it a little closer to home, almost 60% of Christians surveyed by Barna consider themselves as “leaders,” yet 82% of them agree that we are facing a leadership crisis. The leadership qualities participants identified in themselves did not line up with the leadership qualities they expected in others. Ouch!
Clearly, there is a vast disconnect between the growth in leadership “industry” and the quality of leaders the industry produces. But why?
The answer is quite simple. Most leadership resources focus on management techniques, building competencies, skills and tactics, but they fail to focus on the most important part of leadership—the leader and his or her heart condition, demonstrated through character, integrity and emotional intelligence.
At Lead Like Jesus, we believe that unless we firmly understand who we are and Whose we are – unless we allow Jesus to change us from the inside out – we’ll continue to witness the decline of leadership.
Unless we allow Jesus to change us, leadership will continue to decline.
Data supports this, with 38% of new CEOs failing in the first 18 months on the job. Their failures have little to do with skills, competencies and knowledge, but they have a lot to do with ego, pride and lack of emotional intelligence.
Follow the Leader
Internal character traits cannot be overcome and changed by learning new management tactics or better ways of communicating. Many have tried, and all of them have failed. Apart from Jesus, and apart from His power, we’re not able to overcome pride, fear, ego, external pressures, and our insecurities.
You see, Jesus is the only One who offers a model of leadership that’s built on freedom and complete security in Him and His power at work within us. The world continues to throw at us solutions that are built on self-empowerment, self-reliance, competition, peer-pressure and performance. Leading like Jesus, however, frees us to reach the heights of influence that can never be reached on our own.
When we are free from pride and fear, we are free to accept criticism and admit our mistakes. When we are strong enough to overlook offenses and forgive mistakes, we can then free up those around us to reach their full potential!
Still, there is a perception among those in positional leadership that focusing on the character of a leader rather than skills and tactics is “soft” and not practical enough; hence most leaders continue to bypass it. The results are clear: continued struggles, dissatisfied employees, frustrated leaders and chaotic and poor-performing teams and organizations.
We believe that every tactical problem can ultimately be traced to weak character: leading out of fear, leading out of pride, not being able to distinguish right from wrong, having misplaced business priorities or having misplaced life priorities.
Since leadership is character plus skills and tactics, if we ignore one or the other, we will ultimately fail.
As an answer to this prevalent leadership struggle, Jesus offers us a model for growing and developing us into confident leaders who are able to stand against the pressures the world throws at us.
Ultimately, we believe that when it comes to leadership, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. We have the perfect leader role model, Jesus, and we simply need to follow Him and do as He did.
No need to reinvent the wheel. We have the perfect leader role model, Jesus.
Beyond the Bottom Line
Here are two questions I have for us today…
Is our character and integrity trumping our skills, talents, competencies and knowledge?
Or, are we putting too much trust on the latter while compromising that which eventually will make or break us as leaders?
Jesus and His leadership is the only model that goes beyond the bottom line. It's the only model that provides a crystal clear purpose for us as leaders. It’s the only model that will allow our influence to have a lasting impact that goes way beyond our lifetime.
Why would we exchange this kind of power for a cheap counterfeit?
By Megan Pacheco
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