Leading Yourself Before Leading Others

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It’s so important to develop effective leadership skills and it all begins with leading yourself. So how do you develop effective self leadership? There are 3 components. They are spiritual development which prepares you personally; strategic development which helps you plan an effective course of action; and skill development which teaches you how to interact with others.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) says 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Photo by Nelson Pavlosky on flickr

The first thing to consider is that leading yourself before leading others is not selfish. Think of when you are on an airplane and the flight attendant demonstrates the use of the oxygen mask. They always tell you to make sure that your mask is secure before you try to help someone else. That is because without taking care of your mask, you won’t be much use to those around you. Most people live their daily lives, trying to answer two questions:

  • Who’s the boss?
  • Who can I blame?

People have trouble accepting responsibility for their actions. So what do we do? We shift the blame from ourselves to others. We don’t want responsibility, because we don’t like consequences so we  spend our days giving permission to other people to lead.  When it comes time to accept responsibility (or fault because someone screwed up), the blame doesn’t fall on us. In other words, we sacrifice the privilege  of leading for the comfort of never having to be wrong.

All effective self  leadership requires us to be honest with ourselves. There are certain steps you can take to help develop this important life skill. You must develop in the following areas:

  • Ability to see truth. People who work with cash learn to recognize counterfeit money. They do this by knowing the real stuff so well that when something fake comes along they can spot it instantly. You must do this with the word of God so that when you are presented with a lie you can recognize it.
  • A vision. You need to develop an overall plan and purpose for where you are going in life. Doing this with the leading of the Holy Spirit will give you clear direction when the path forward is unclear. 
  • Confidence in your own ability. You have strong, God given, abilities. What are they? Seek the Holy Spirit, He will show you.
  • Ability to teach and equip others. Leadership requires that you make the lives of others better. You can only do this if you know who you are.
  • Desire to benefit others. You must stop being selfish. You will never learn to lead yourself until you realize that the purpose of your life is not seeking your own comfort but in being a blessing to others. 
  • Encouragement to others. Be a life changer. Start with your own life, Learn to encourage yourself through difficult times and it becomes much easier to help others.
  • Ability to change  yourself. You must remove anything from your life that controls you. This includes negative behaviors, bad habits, negative self talk. This come from willingness and prayer.

Over the next several weeks we will be looking at the story of Daniel.  Daniel is a favorite character of the Bible. He was not the leader of a nation or culture but God allowed him to climb to the highest levels of influence. He spent time with kings and governors. God gave Daniel the ability to discern important issues before the leaders of both the Babylonian and Persian empires. 

He is an example of someone with a high degree of integrity and character.  He is an example of someone who learned to take self-inventory. He worked on his spirit when needed. He knew how to lead himself, making hard choices when necessary. Because of this, he was given the responsibility of leading others.

Image by Mario Aranda from Pixabay

Character is the cornerstone where a great leader builds their life  If a person does not have character then he cannot develop trust from followers. That trust is essential for any organization or group of people to grow and improve. Many nations have been held hostage by leaders who lack character. We are getting a first hand example of this in our world today. 

Most schools fail to develop character in students. Most schools today have become nothing more than social experiments. They teach nothing about  building character but teach unmerited self-esteem.They produce students who can get a job because of good grades but can’t keep a job because they lack ethics and values.

People who develop certain character traits develop self-leadership and therefore develop the ability to lead others. They include character, integrity and continued spiritual growth. They have an impact on friends, families, companies, churches, nations and civilizations. If a potential leader becomes corrupt, selfish, and shortsighted people suffer, societies dissolve, ministries split, teams lose. We can see from Israel in the Bible. When Israel’s faithful kings ruled with truth and walked in integrity the nation prospered. When Israel’s corrupt kings ruled they became reckless and the nation and people suffered. It can be illustrated by comparing the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee. The Dead Sea is a lifeless body of water and the Sea of Galilee is overflowing with abundant life. The difference between the two is that the Dead Sea takes in water from other sources but has no outlet. It keeps everything. The Sea of Galilee on the other hand allows water to pass through and continues through to other destinations.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Self-Examination is important and it is your  responsibility. How are you doing on your own character  development?  Take a self-inventory with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and align yourself with the word of God? Remember, God’s word is a sharp, double-edged sword.

Do you keep your word? Do you finish what you start? Are you being a good steward of everything entrusted to you? 

It’s up to you. Only you and God can answer these questions. Hebrews 4:13 says: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

We are going to continue looking at Daniel’s life for the lessons needed to help you understand what needs to be done to build trust, develop integrity and become the leader God intended.

Michael at R2W

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