The Lie of the Perfect LeaderPublished November 23, 2016
Leadership is easier on some days than others.
When we successfully lead through a turbulent season, hire the perfect individual or take a risk that results in a profit, it is easy to believe God has called us to leadership.
However, when we are overcome with fear or judgement, or the wrong hire costs the business thousands of dollars or we take the wrong risk and disappoint people who were counting on us, it can be easy to question our qualification and ability to be a leader.
As a young leader myself, there have been many moments when I have been tempted to believe the lie that if I cannot be a “perfect leader,” I am not good enough to lead at all.
I suspect I am not the only leader who is forced to confront this lie throughout the journey of leadership.
It is time for leaders to unite in order to refute the lie of the perfect leader. God does not require perfection. Rather, He invites us to display His power and might through our imperfections, even in our leadership.
Let’s take a look at the individual Jesus chose to lead His movement on this earth over 2,000 years ago.
When Jesus approached Peter, he did not appear to be the most qualified individual for the job. Peter was not looking for a leadership role when Jesus approached Him on the beach on that ordinary day. Rather, he was sitting in his boat, in his comfort zone, in the normal routine of paying the bills.
Jesus interrupted Peter’s life that day and called him to sacrifice the comfort, the ease and the normality of his life.
The Son of God, who was sent to Earth to save the entire human race and launch a worldwide movement that would change the world for the rest of time, had the greatest mission of all time. His mission would change lives and change eternities. The outcome of His mission would literally change the world.
You would think, for a mission as grand and important as this, Jesus would find the most experienced, qualified, mature and perfect leader He could find.
But He didn’t.
Rather, He chose an unexpected, unpolished, young fisherman and said to Him, “On you, I will build my Church.”
Jesus did not make a mistake that day, He did not forget to read over Peter’s resumé before calling him to leadership. Jesus proved a point about leadership that would hold true for the rest of history.
We are not called to leadership based on our experience, our age, our education or our qualifications.
We are called to leadership by the God who created us, formed us, molded us and placed us in history at this time, in this place, to do His work.
It is time to rebel against the lie of the perfect leader. It is time for us to believe that if God calls us to leadership, He will also equip us for that calling. It is time for us to stop relying on ourselves and put our trust in the only One who can give us the power and wisdom to lead well.
Whether you are called to lead your children or lead a business, lead a congregation or lead a team, lead a project or lead your community, God will qualify and equip you for the calling He has given you.
You may make mistakes, but do not see them as a reason to quit. Peter failed three times by denying Jesus as He was being led to the cross, yet, Jesus did not give up on him. Peter would go on to lead Jesus’ movement on this Earth. And that moment still exists to this day.
If Jesus empowered the leadership potential of a young, inexperienced, flawed man like Peter, He can do the same for you and me.
In order to embrace our own calling of leadership and defeat the lie of the perfect leader, we must take three steps.
1) Embrace your Calling
Whether you have been leading for decades or have never led in your life, we all must learn to embrace our calling each day. Perhaps we are afraid to admit God has called us to leadership, or perhaps the path of leadership has been so draining, we want to run from it.
We can continue to deny our calling, but this will only result in an unfulfilled life, untapped potential, and immeasurable lost impact. We must fully embrace our calling each day with confidence and expectation of how God will move in our lives to reveal the leader He sees inside of us.
Leadership is a high calling, but we are not left to follow it on our own.
2) Invest in your Calling
As Pastor Bill Hybels often says, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” God will equip us for leadership, but that does not mean we should just sit still and wait for Him to infuse us with knowledge and wisdom. We must also invest in our calling of leadership. Read books, go to conferences, find a mentor, or listen to podcasts. You are the steward of your calling. Therefore, steward it well and invest in the high and honorable calling God has placed on your life.
3) Take Action on your Calling
It is time to take action. Begin to lead. Or renew your commitment to lead with a refreshed sense of purpose. Whether you lead one person or you lead an entire company, lead with humility, integrity, passion and boldness.
You do not need to be ashamed or afraid of your calling.
The God who created you, molded you and formed you has called you to a life of impacting lives, changing people and investing in individuals.
Leadership is a high calling. But you are not required to be perfect.
Take a step forward today, confident of your calling and sure of the One who will equip and qualify you every step of the way.
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About the Author
Hannah Gronowski is the Founder and CEO of Generation Distinct , a nonprofit that exists to empower young leaders to discover the wrong they were born to make right, leading them to experience who Jesus really is. She has a passion to use her voice to empower others to become leaders God can use to create real change in the world. She is also a speaker and an author, with her first book releasing in 2020 with NavPress Publishers. She has spoken at conferences, churches, college campuses, and youth events around the country.