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.