I’m always wanting to grow in my leadership. I want to understand how to lead better within the context God has placed me.
Often, I will find leaders that I admire and seek to learn from their stories; however, sometimes, I find that watching poor leaders can be just as helpful.
That’s what happened recently as I was reading and meditating on Numbers 12. Moses was a great leader. Aaron, on the other hand, had some issues. If you are not familiar with the story, I encourage you to check it out.
As I thought about Aaron, I realized that he sabotaged his own leadership efforts. Aaron had the family connections, he had the position, and he had the bloodline, but he failed miserably in Numbers 12. Here are some key warnings that stood out:
Be careful not to desire another leader’s position, power, or prominence (that’s envy).
Be careful not to speak against another leader (that’s slander).
Be careful not to think you can do it better than another leader (that’s arrogance).
These warnings from Aaron’s missteps continue to be helpful markers for me, and they led me to think about a practical three-step process to keep my leaders from self-sabotage.
AAA Approach to Leadership
Apply my leadership energy to my path. In a military foxhole, sticks are wedged in the ground to limit the side-to-side muzzle movement of the gun and keep the rifle focused on a particular segment of the perimeter. These firing guides also keep weapon from veering too far to one side and shooting someone in the adjacent foxhole. The point is that I need to apply my energy to the area God has placed in front of me while trusting him to move in others to do the same.
Abound in graciousness. I need to watch any inappropriately critical speech, especially in the wrong contexts. When speaking of others, I need to focus on being gracious. This point is particularly important when I do not have direct inside information concerning the specifics of someone else’s decisions or actions. Ephesians 4:29 is particularly helpful here: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Accept that others will not understand the pressures I’m under. Jesus is a great example here. He didn’t try to get everyone to understand how hard his job was, how everyone’s expectations of him were somewhat misguided, how hard his temptations in the wilderness were, etc. Fulfilling the will of the Father was the primary object of Jesus’ efforts.
Leading in the church is hard. Getting distracted by what everyone else is doing is easy. My prayer lately has been that God would help me be a AAA Leader in the church where he has placed me. I’m asking God to enable me to “Apply” myself to the path he has placed before me and not focus on others, to “Abound” in graciousness as it relates to other leaders, and “Accept” that despite all the conversations some people will never understand the pressure of leading in this way.