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3 Soul Toxins That Derail Servant Leadership

An insecure leader:

  • Often tries to please everyone.
  • Has difficulty saying no.
  • Tries to avoid criticism and confrontation.
  • Is not fully self-aware, especially of how others see them.
  • May display false humility.

An insecure leader is different than a leader with an insecurity. We all have insecure moments, that’s part of leadership, leading where we have not gone before, but we figure it out.

The antidote to the toxin of insecurity is confidence in your identity. Notice it’s not first confidence in your ability, that comes second. It starts with knowing who you are in Christ. Identity then ability.

Here’s how God sees you:

  • You are loved and valued.
  • You are forgiven and a new creation.
  • You are capable and gifted.

For much more depth on these three bullets and the topic of identity, see my book “Confident Leader.”

2. Envy: The Envious Leader Serves From a Discontent Heart and Is Often Tempted by More.

The driving question is, What will make me happy?

Envy within the church is surprisingly common and can be very destructive because it leads to competition rather that cooperation and collaboration.

Here’s the problem with envy, someone will always have more or something better than you.

My love for guitars can lead to envy. My wife laughs with me about the fact that I need to sell a guitar that I had to have in order to by another guitar that I just have to have.

How many guitars is enough? One more. 

The question should not be about what others have, at some point we need to ask the question, what is enough?

(This isn’t about legalism, I’m not defining for you what enough is, but its wise for you to figure that out for yourself.)

It’s about learning contentment, and that’s not easy for a leader. Part of that is good and comes from our natural God-given drive that is required to lead, but healthy boundaries are needed.

The antidote to the toxin of envy is gratitude.

Contentment is internal. Nothing external brings lasting peace or contentment. It all fades.

Personal contentment comes from a quiet confidence that God is with you, He loves you, and you are living the purpose He has for you.

This frees us up to be more grateful leaders.

3. Pride: The Prideful Leader Serves for Power and Is Often Tempted to Control.

The driving question is, What is my seat at the table?

Let’s acknowledge that this isn’t about the 1% off-the-chart narcissists who are consumed by the pursuit of power, praise and control. That’s very rare.

Still, any leader can fall prey to pride, and when we think we can’t, the enemy has us right where he wants us.