“The Ten Leadership Lessons We Don’t Talk About”
Truth #1: Politics are Everywhere
(*DPC [see below] – would add stick to the truth and your convictions and seek to be a bridge builder. The apostle Paul sates it this way in Romans 12:18-3:1, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”)
Truth #2: Great Leaders Aren’t Liked Very Much
(DPC – you can’t please all of the people all of the time, only some of the people some of the time – it goes with the territory – some will not like your mission/vision/ some will be jealous and want your job; and some people are just rebels! As Rick Warren often likes to say, “Live for an Audience of One.” Ultimately if you are seeking to please God and uphold the Gospel you will be well pleasing to Him and be benefiting everyone around you. The important thing is that you seek to bring glory and honor to God as the Apostle Paul specifies, “So whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”– 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Truth #3: Nobody Will Find You as Interesting as You Do
(DPC – The reality is everyone likes to be encouraged, praised, and appreciated for his or her talents, skills, accomplishments, and so forth. People know if you care more about your own agenda, or if you are genuinely interested in their welfare. In the famous “golden rule” Jesus states, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” – Luke 10:27 – Nobody can ever question Jesus’ love for them – as the Apostle John states in his version of the golden rule based on Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” – John 15:12-13).
Truth #4: Every Single Person, Even the Greatest Leader Out There, is Afraid
(DPC – God’s Word says that perfect love; God’s providential dealings; and meditating on and applying His Scriptures help us to overcome fear: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love… “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you… This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” [1 John 4:18 to all Disciples of Jesus; Isaiah 43:1a-2, to the people of Israel; and Joshua 1:8-9, God to Moses’ successor – Joshua]).
Truth #5: Someone is Always Watching You
(“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – The Apostle Paul in Galatians 6:5-10).
Truth #6: Great Leaders Diligently Protect Their Energy
(The Prophet Isaiah is helpful here: “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”– Isaiah 40:31).
Truth #7: Great Leaders Possess Supreme, Undying Confidence
(DPC – I would add: in the Gospel and in the power of the Holy Spirit – as the Apostle Paul says – “Put no confidence in the flesh” – and “it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes”– Philippians 3:3a & Romans 1:16a).
Truth #8: Great Leaders Never, Ever Talk Trash
(DPC – It’s hard to beat what the Apostle Paul says about the power of encouraging words in Ephesians 4:26-29, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
And what James says about the power of words: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” – James 3:1-18).
Truth #9: Great Leaders Know What They Want and Go After it Relentlessly
(DPC – The greatest Person whoever lived – Jesus – focused on one thing: “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to give His life as a ransom for many” – Matthew 20:28. In Luke 19:10 Jesus put it this way, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” In other words, Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect life we could never live in order to give us His righteousness in exchange for our sin, so that we can be saved from the just punishment of our sins before a Holy God, and give us eternal life through repentance and faith in His life, death, burial, and resurrection – His paying the death penalty that we rightly deserved and giving us His righteousness so that we can have a relationship with God forever. Paul summarizes our salvation made possible by Jesus’ mission in this way, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” – 2 Corinthians 5:21. The Apostle Peter describes it this way in 1 Peter 2:24 & 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed”).
The greatest church planter and leader of all time and author of half the New Testament – The Apostle Paul – summed up his mission this way: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”).
Truth #10: Great Leaders Insist On Excellent, Pristine Communication
(DPC – There is a ton of Biblical guidance on communication. Here is a small sampling:
Titus 3:1-7, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
The Apostle Paul in Colossians 4:1-6, “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
James 4:11-12, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
1 Thessalonians 5:12-18, “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Peter 4:8-11, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”)
*DPC – stands for David P. Craig – A Pastoral Life Coach who views everything through the lenses of Scripture and a Christ Centered Perspective. All the Scripture references are from the English Standard Version (ESV). I think her book stands alone and will help any leader – whether non-profit; business; or even in the home. The verses and comments are DPC’s are not to be associated or attributed to Deidre Maloney. Deidra Maloney’s “10 truths” are elaborated on in her new book Tough Truth’s mentioned below.
About Deidre Maloney:
Deidre is a nationally recognized speaker and author who uses her brand of “mild audacity” to validate and inspire. She passionately runs Momentum LLC, which helps organizations meet their goals…and their leaders sleep better at night. Her first book, The Mission Myth, helps nonprofits meet their missions through better business. Maloney currently resides in San Diego with her husband Jason. You can follow Deidre on twitter @Deidre_Maloney. The 10 leadership lessons listed above are elaborated on in her excellent new 100-page book: Tough Truths: The Ten Leadership Lessons We Don’t Talk About. Business Solutions Press: San Diego, 2012.