The Perfect Leader

October 7, 2009 - Mac Lake - Leadership
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I have some news – if it’s good news or bad news I guess all depends on how you look at it, but here it is:  There are no perfect leaders.  Moses was racked with insecurity.  Gideon was consumed with fear.  David fell to the lure of his passions.  Peter was impulsive and unpredictable.   I long ago gave up the ideal that I would be a perfect leader. In fact, as I get older I’ve learned to live with and even appreciate the imperfections of my leadership . 

Acknowledging my imperfections actually makes me a better leader and enables me to gain greater leadership credibility.  Here are a few advantages of acknowledging your limitations:

  • My imperfections create the opportunity for those around me to show grace
  • My imperfections force me to work with and depend on my team
  • My imperfections cause me to look for others who can do what I cannot do
  • My imperfections make me hopelessly dependent upon God
  • My imperfections causes me to be open to coaching and feedback

But it’s not always easy for a leaders to acknowledge or admit their imperfections.  Saul is the classic example of the imperfect leader who wrestled with leadership insecurities.  We read in 1 Samuel 18:8-9, “Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.  

When I fail to acknowledge my imperfections it has damaging effects on my leadership:

  • My imperfections make me defensive and cause me to blame others
  • My imperfections cause me to lead with a spirit of pretense, projecting that I don’t need others
  • My imperfections cause me to compare myself and be jealous of others abilities and strengths
  • My imperfections drive me to become self-focused, controlling and prideful. My image becomes more important than the mission
  • My imperfections cause me to live and lead with a spirit of pretense

There are no perfect leaders…good news or bad news?  It all depends on how you look at it.

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Mac Lake

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3 responses to The Perfect Leader

  1. Mac, as usual you hit the bullseye. We are put in a position of leadership for the kind of leader we are and the direction we are leading, not because we have all the answers or skills. Relying on others to accomplisth more is the trait of a great leader. Like Jesus, who cast the vision, enlisted the workers, released them for ministry.

  2. Mac – good blog – I have been in ministry for more than 20 years, ran a Leadership Training School and more – I actually worked for leader much like Saul, well, he struggled with narcissism, for sure. Not good for him or anyone else – in fact it ended up being the demise of the ministry. Alas, GOD is good and restoration is occurring in the church.

    Today, I work with leaders that are teachable and willing to lead as a team – not self-seeking. What a breath of fresh air. Good stuff happens when we know all of us are really at our best when we model the ultimate leader, JESUS.

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