One of the last things any leader wants to talk about is personal weaknesses, but one of the hallmarks of a good leader is the capacity to recognize and contend with them. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have felt inadequate for what I was being asked to do. Work doesn’t get any less fun than that, and yet we don’t need to let that defeat us because God not only knows that we’re inadequate in our own strength, but He tells us that’s OK because it gives us the opportunity to rely on Him and not ourselves. This seems counter-intuitive to the modern, self-made leader who is taught to suck it up, put on their big boy or girl pants and conquer the world without relying on others. This is a lie, one that has doomed many leaders. If you want a great example of this from the Bible, read about Saul, the first king of Israel, in 1 Samuel.
Failure and disappointment are regular companions of all leaders. What will we do about this? First and foremost we must take these things to God and ask Him to work through our circumstances so that His purpose is accomplished. I’ve learned a lot as a leader through what felt at the time like failure, but if we’re open to learning the lesson we will be able to look back on an experience or season of life and say “I wasn’t happy to have gone throughout that at the time, but in retrospect I’m glad I did.”
“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NLT)
Questions for reflection:
What do you think are your weaknesses? Why do you think you have them? Do you think you’d be a better leader without them?
Do you feel comfortable talking about your weaknesses with others? Have you shared any of your difficult work/life lessons with people you lead?