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Who We Are Is How We Lead

Updated: Jul 21

Rhetorical question. Which are you? A leader who sacrifices for the good of others or one who sacrifices others for the good of yourself?

This one is between you and God. Let a man or woman examine themselves.

God blesses our leadership based not upon our view of self but upon our view of others, unknowingly rooted in our view of Him. How?If we viewed other people, regardless of their race, gender or socio-economic standing as God views them - as bearers of His image, we would see them as we see ourselves. No worse, no better.

If we, in humility, have the right perspective of God, we will have the right perspective of ourselves. More important, the right perspective of others.

If we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, we will lead with a selfish high-mindedness that eventually leads to team disunity and mistrust.

When those we lead figure out that we make it all about us, they will begin making it all about us, seeking more to please us than those they serve. And then it becomes a matter of kissing up to us to keep their job and position.

What's wrong with this? When we make ourselves the one to please, we place ourselves on a throne we don't belong and God will share his glory with no one. Glory-seeking leaders are short-lived leaders and every success is short-lived. Living only as long as they live to serve. And the legacy they leave will soon be forgotten. Don't allow your character to become the caricature of your legacy.

Selfish leadership is why so many initiatives drop through the cracks in cities and towns across the country - misplaced loyalties in leadership. Cities are living, breathing organisms. And when we as leaders, demand all the oxygen, everyone else and everything else suffocates and eventually dies. The tragedy is when such a leader gets canned, resigns or goes off to greener pastures, the city, town or village is still intubated.

It should be top of mind to every leader that it isn't about them, but them.

I love all and love to lead, teach, and counsel. But God has called me, through failures and defeats, wins and losses, education, and gifting to leaders in public service. Those serving locally, throughout the country. Those who people can see and touch. Not out-of-sight, out-of-reach leaders elected locally but whose self-interests lie in state capitols or in Washington, D.C.

Tip O'Neil coined the phrase, "All politics is local." I say all leadership is personal. We lead out of who we are. If you are a gracious person, you will be a gracious leader. If you are a kind person, you will be a kind leader.

If you are a selfish person, you will be a selfish leader. If you are an arrogant person, you will be an arrogant leader and if you are the worst of all, an insecure person, you will be an insecure leader and stop at nothing to protect an image you've crafted and a persona you have created. Both, bogus.

Leadership doesn't make us who we are. Leadership reveals who we are. And those who are wise will learn, follow, and with humility, allow the process and privilege of serving and leading others to change them for the better.

Every human called to lead should not only leave things better than when they found them. They should leave better.
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