I want to follow a leader that’s real, don’t you? When a leader pretends to have it all together I tend to shut them off. That leader may be gifted, love God and have a great vision but the lack of authenticity can limit their ability to connect with and lead others.
In 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul commended Timothy for his authenticity when he wrote, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” The Greek word “sincere” means without hypocrisy. Timothy developed this authenticity in his faith because his mother and grandmother were real. If you want to be real…get around real people. Authenticity can be contagious and is essential if we want to influence others. It’s tempting to guard our “leadership image” but doing so only produces an environment of pretense.
Paul didn’t want Timothy to lose that spirit of authenticity. He was a young leader taking on a big challenge of providing leadership for the church at Ephesus. With this level of responsiblity there would be a temptation to “pretend” to be something he was not. The moment we start pretending is the moment we start losing credibility and influence. It may feel counterintuitive at times, but people want to know that you are not perfect as a leader…show your weaknesses, admit your short comings and confess your mistakes. Be real.
Do you allow people to learn from your leadership mistakes or are you trying to protect your “leadership image”?