In the past, I’ve chased positions, titles, and accolades.
Like most of the ambitious and driven, I’ve not always stewarded the responsibility of leadership well. I’ve chased position, title, and accolades. I’ve made leadership more about me rather than serving others.
The longer I lead the more deeply committed I’ve become to the gravity of leadership. We see the notoriety and success and we then become enamored with the idea of leadership.
Hebrews 13:17 tells us that as leaders we are to keep watch over those in our sphere of influence and that we will be held accountable for that care.
I wonder if we’ve lost this understanding?
Luke tells us, “To whom much is given much is required.”
Do we recognize that with greater leadership we are not less accountable, we are actually more accountable?
Have we glamorized leadership and idolized leaders so much that we’ve become blinded to our frailty?
Are we so afraid of honesty, confession, our sin, and our failure that, like King David, we will cover it all up no matter the cost?
Are we so fearful of losing control that we orchestrate control by surrounding ourselves with “yes men and women”, creating echo chambers of our own praise?
Leaders, I believe it’s a season of reckoning. I believe God is calling us back to His heart for leadership. Back to a realization of the extraordinary honor and privilege it is to have influence in another’s life. Back to the realization that with every ounce of influence, we have the power to affect the lives of other people.
Back to the realization that with every expansion of that influence— the ripple effect gets more profound. Back to an understanding that when we fail, the consequences and the impact on so many others will send shock waves for years to come.
What can we learn? How do change the trajectory of the story? How can we raise a generation of thriving and healthy leaders who lead well for the long haul? How do we make sure today’s heroes don’t become tomorrow’s headlines?
It starts with me. It starts with you. It’s the slow, slogging, unseen work of self-leadership. Leading yourself well in every dimension of life. No one can do this work for you, and ultimately you’re accountable.
How is your soul?
We hate the word discipline, but I intentionally used it here. To nurture your soul requires a relationship with God. Building a relationship means time spent together. Are you seeking God for the purpose of knowing Him, not needing something from Him? Are you consistent and intentional in prayer, Bible reading, and Sabbath? Are there disciplines in your life that suggest you’re actively pursuing growth for your soul?
How are your relationships?
We were made for community, but too many of us sacrifice family and friends for the sake of ambition. It’s often subtle. Responsibilities grow and gradually we continue to squeeze out the relationships that ground us. We buy into the belief that leadership is lonely. Instead of fighting the loneliness with intentional community, we give in to the isolation that becomes a breeding ground for unhealth. Who are the people who don’t need you to be a leader? Fight for time with them.
How are you learning?
There is a well-known quote that says, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Trouble is, our egos enjoy being the smartest person in the room, and the more leadership influence we gain the more likely that is the case. We must fight our ego, cultivate an attitude of curiosity and humbly acknowledge where we need to continue to grow. Our nature gravitates toward what’s known and comfortable. Maintaining a growth mindset helps us value the wisdom of others, humbly recognize our inadequacies, and relentlessly remain committed to learning and growing.
What is your purpose?
Sadly, we often lose our personal sense of purpose and direction in the pursuit of achievement. What is your purpose, your driving “why” for everything you do? If your title and platform were stripped away tomorrow would you still know what you are gifted and created to do? Does your “why” transcend the title and position? If not, it’s time to revisit and identify the core purpose that grounds you no matter the circumstances you find yourself in.
And not so ironically that pursuit of purpose takes you full circle back to the first dimension of soul care.
Leaders, we get the remarkable privilege of leading others to extraordinary outcomes, but this pursuit has the potential to do more harm than good if we are not attentive to our health as leaders.
“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside of himself or herself… lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”
Perhaps with a more sober perspective on leadership, we would be more cautious with our desire to grow our influence. Perhaps we’d hold it more carefully. Perhaps we’d recognize the truly sacred responsibility that leadership is.
Lead yourself well. It matters. It so desperately matters.
Jenni Catron is the founder of The 4Sight Group. They are committed to cultivating healthy leaders to lead thriving organizations. Our mission is to come alongside you and your team to provide the tools and resources you need to accomplish your purpose with renewed focus and passion.
- Author of several books including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership
- International Speaker on the topics of leadership, team culture, and strategy
- Outreach Magazine recognized me as one of the thirty emerging influencers reshaping church leadership.
- Featured in the book, “The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker‘ as one of the top 50 Young Leaders in the Nation
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