Do you have a person or persons in your life who can tell you the truth about what they are seeing in your life that has the potential to lead to failure as a leader, and ultimately destroy you as a person?
Having people who can tell you the truth is often difficult for leaders because of the power and influence which come with leadership. Those you lead may be seeing signs of failure. However, they may be afraid to say anything directly to you because of the power and influence you have over them.
Then there is also the ego; you may begin with humility but, if not held in check, your ego will overtake every aspect of your leadership. Others may see warning signs but fear they will bruise your ego if they point out these issues. Truthfully, no one likes to be led by a leader with a bruised ego! Such a leader usually spends considerable time and energy trying to retaliate – openly or subtly – against those who bruised their ego.
The potential of retaliation – in great or small measure – against any who dare to tell you the truth when they see warning signs in your life is what tends to keep others from coming to you. But having such people in your life is vitally important.
So how does a leader come to have people in their life who can tell them the truth without fear of retribution?
First, make it a matter of prayer. Ask God to provide you with a Nathan as he did for King David. Nathan risked his life by confronting King David about his adultery with Bathsheba. You can read the story in 2 Samuel 12. As a leader, you need at least one Nathan.
Next, seek out relationships with people you know have a sincere interest in you. They may or may not be a close family member. Sometimes it is more beneficial for that person not to be a family member. Sometimes family members may be concerned about the effects such truth-telling will have on the relationship; as a result, they may not always be completely frank with you.
Finally, develop a teachable attitude. When you hear the truth, do not immediately go on the defensive, make excuses, or attack the person for speaking the truth. Instead, learn the art of stepping back and assessing what you have heard. First, see what you can learn to improve your role as a leader and a person. In the words of Scott Sauls, “Our character must matter more to us than our reputation.” (From Weakness to Strength)
Remember, Nathans take the risk to tell you the truth because they care, and they want to see you succeed. Artist, author and philosopher Elbert Hubbard wrote: “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.”
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.