I am reading a new book by Dan B. Allender entitled Leading. Why am I reading this particular book? Because of its subtitle. The subtitle is: "Turning Your Struggles Into Strengths." Now that had my interest. After all, it is often my own humanness that gets in the way.
I began reading the book and came across this statement:
…to the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues.
I’ve seen this. I’ve seen people who either refused or were unable to deal with their own issues. And then, they couldn’t figure out why others did not enjoy working with them. Here is a man who is so insecure that he must constantly be propped up and reassured. He constantly turns conversations from others back to himself. At the same time, he creates great distance between himself and his colleagues because he will not own up to these efforts to compensate for his insecurity.
I’ve also noticed that it is extremely difficult for so many leaders to admit they were wrong or say "I’m sorry." Instead, they put a spin on whatever they say so that in the end, someone else is responsible for the mistake. Or–they pretend there was no mistake at all. I remember watching the talking heads on television years ago as they discussed the political mess that former President Richard Nixon was in. In one commentator’s view, the American people are very forgiving and would have forgiven Nixon if he had just said, "I’m sorry. I was wrong." But, he would not.
Authentic self-disclosure and honesty are important not only for Christian leaders but for all of us. Think about how such an attitude would bless our marriages. I remember arguing with Charlotte once about some issue. It dawned on me about halfway into the argument that I was wrong. I had gotten my facts wrong. By that time, however, I had already committed myself. So–I did what any other immature human being would do, I continued to argue for something that I knew was wrong.
Pretty stupid? Yeah. But also very prideful.
Listen to Allender as he continues this line of thinking:
The truth about confession is that it doesn’t lead to people’s weakness and disrespect; instead, it transforms the leader’s character and earns her greater respect and power. This is the strange paradox of leading: to the degree you attempt to hide or dissemble your weaknesses, the more you will need to control those you lead, the more insecure you will become, and the more rigidity you will impose–prompting the ultimate departure of your best people. (p. 3)