3 Mistakes We Make as Leaders

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3 Mistakes We Make as Leaders

by Sarah Coleman

Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth, Bill Gates, Malala Yousafzai, Bono, Mother Teresa – all very different leaders. Some broke new ground and were a voice for the marginalised and disadvantaged, while others ruled nations. But they all led. 
Like these incredible men and women, you are a leader. 
In this day and age there is no shortage of leadership material. Podcasts, blog posts, seminars, books, even Pinterest quotes offer endless inspiration when it comes to leadership.
Despite this, many still struggle to lead well. Some struggle to lead at all. But leading is not an option, it is a quality of being human. God gave authority, dominion and power to all men and women when He formed the world. We are created to lead and lead well. 
So why don't we?
We fail to recognise ourselves as leaders.
What do you think of when I say leadership? Executives? Prime Ministers? The illustrious list of names at the beginning of this piece?
Do you think of yourself? Do you see yourself as a leader?
The greatest reason many fail to lead well is because they refuse to acknowledge themselves as leaders. They believe themselves not qualified or incapable of leadership. They see themselves as insignificant and unworthy. 
There is a saying that there are no born leaders. I disagree. Every individual is a born leader. According to 1 Peter 2:9 you are a priest and king. We were all born to lead.
Not acknowledging yourself as a leader is not humble. The excuse of, "But I'm just a…" doesn't cut it. 
Denial is more than refusing to acknowledge yourself as a leader, it is a lack of leadership. And a lack of leadership always hurts someone. 
Your kids don't need poor leadership. You spouse doesn't need poor leadership. Your co-workers don't need poor leadership. Children trafficked through Europe don't need poor leadership. Starving families of Africa don't need poor leadership. They need strong leadership. 
From you. 
There is no excuse. The world needs your leadership. Step up and lead.
We treat leadership as a right.
The recent surge in leadership propaganda has prompted some to believe leadership is a right. Leadership is not a right. Leadership is not a title. Leadership is not an award or promotion. If you wait for an invitation to lead you are not being a leader.
 
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Leadership is initiative. It is pioneering. 
Jael was just a girl in a tent. No one asked her to do anything. There was no expectation. She had no title. Yet she recognised opportunity and even when no one was watching, she decided to lead. 
That, my friend, is true leadership at its best.
We don't lead from grace.
Modern perceptions of leadership are more like dictatorship – where the authority figure rules with an iron fist. But that is not the example of leadership we see in Jesus. Jesus led as a servant. He led by grace.
Leading is not humiliating someone back into line. Leadership is not manipulating the situation to get your way. It is not a climb to the top, abusing everyone in your path. 
Leadership is best when comes from the position of grace. Grace paves the way so followers don't get hurt. Grace releases others into their potential. Grace makes provision for mistakes. Grace is authentic. Grace leads as a servant.
So get out there and lead well.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request. 
The essence of leadership is expansion. And it is not comfortable. It is hard. But you can handle it. Because you are a born leader.
Search out the leader within and grow to become that person. There is always pain in birthing something new. Jabez may have prayed for expansion, but his mother felt it first.
Leadership will extend you and push you past the limits of yourself. It will take you to foreign ground and challenge your strength. Father is ever present and He will deliver you from trouble. 
You are more of a leader than you recognise. Don't hesitate. Step into new opportunities. Unleash the leader you were born to be. You are a person who leads well.
 
Connect with me.
I'm Sarah Coleman, an Australian author and pastor. If your heart resonated with my thoughts, sign up for my weekly blog, plus receive my free e-Book Be Amazing: You Know You Want To (in pdf and MP3).
Publication date: March 15, 2016
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