The Perfect Leader

I have some news – if it’s good news or bad news I guess all depends on how you look at it, but here it is:  There are no perfect leaders.  Moses was racked with insecurity.  Gideon was consumed with fear.  David fell to the lure of his passions.  Peter was impulsive and unpredictable.   I long ago gave up the ideal that I would be a perfect leader. In fact, as I get older I’ve learned to live with and even appreciate the imperfections of my leadership . 

Acknowledging my imperfections actually makes me a better leader and enables me to gain greater leadership credibility.  Here are a few advantages of acknowledging your limitations:

  • My imperfections create the opportunity for those around me to show grace
  • My imperfections force me to work with and depend on my team
  • My imperfections cause me to look for others who can do what I cannot do
  • My imperfections make me hopelessly dependent upon God
  • My imperfections causes me to be open to coaching and feedback

But it’s not always easy for a leaders to acknowledge or admit their imperfections.  Saul is the classic example of the imperfect leader who wrestled with leadership insecurities.  We read in 1 Samuel 18:8-9, “Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.  

When I fail to acknowledge my imperfections it has damaging effects on my leadership:

  • My imperfections make me defensive and cause me to blame others
  • My imperfections cause me to lead with a spirit of pretense, projecting that I don’t need others
  • My imperfections cause me to compare myself and be jealous of others abilities and strengths
  • My imperfections drive me to become self-focused, controlling and prideful. My image becomes more important than the mission
  • My imperfections cause me to live and lead with a spirit of pretense

There are no perfect leaders…good news or bad news?  It all depends on how you look at it.