A Prayer and a Practice to Guard Your HeartPublished February 11, 2020
If I’ve learned anything about leadership over the last four decades, it’s this:
Most people have an incomplete and therefore inaccurate view of leadership.
To make matters worse, I have contributed to the confusion!
My first book, The Secret, co-authored with Ken Blanchard, was an attempt to codify the fundamental skills all leaders need. The book was well received because it outlined what great leaders do.
Twenty years later, much of modern leadership content is still focused on the same theme, the “how to” genre. This is good because men and women certainly need the skills to lead, but they need much more to create and sustain success. Most leaders who struggle and the majority who fail, do not do so due to lack of skills; something else is their ultimate undoing.
Great leadership requires both heart and hands.
Let’s go back to the initial work our team did over 20 years ago. We rediscovered an ancient truth: leadership is like an iceberg. The 10% above the waterline represents the skills of the leader; the 90% below the waterline represents the character or heart of the leader.
A beautiful picture of this can be found in the book of Psalms when describing the leadership of King David. “David shepherded his people with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” Psalm 78:72
Great leadership requires both heart and hands!
Unfortunately, our world has over-indexed on the part that is easier to observe—the skills. But, here’s the truth: If your heart is not right, no one cares about your skills.
But wait. What if my heart is not right? That’s a fantastic question and one that transcends the confines of this blog post.
However, I’ll offer a prayer and a practice that can begin to transform your heart for good.
PRAYER–Ask God to change your heart.
He can do it! If you want a biblical illustration of God changing a leader’s heart, consider the story told in 1 Samuel 9 – 10. Saul had just been anointed king and then… “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart.”
PRACTICE–Begin the hard work of cultivating a “Think Others First” mindset.
Servant leaders don’t think less of themselves; they just think of themselves less often. Here’s a simple, potentially life-altering, tactic to battle the gravitational pull of self and shift your orientation:
Begin the hard work of cultivating a “Think Others First” mindset.
Try adding value to everyone you meet.
Impossible? Sure, but it is the effort that changes us. If you are attempting to add value to someone else, you’ve shifted your focus from yourself. Do this consistently and you’ll notice a real change of heart!
Not long ago, I was asked about the best leadership advice I ever received. Here it is:
“Above all else, guard your heart, everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
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About the Author
Mark Miller is a business leader, international best-selling author and storyteller. He currently serves as Vice President of High-Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A, Inc. As an author, he now has over one million books in print including The Heart of Leadership, Chess Not Checkers , and his latest, Win Every Day, to be released in March 2020. Over the years, Mark has spoken to countless groups around the world—his message is consistent with his calling: He wants to encourage and equip leaders to change their world. Learn more at TMarkMiller.com