When a leader begins to hold himself in high esteem, it's only a matter of time until his influence is lost. Without influence, leaders will make little impact.
Certainly, it is important for a leader to exude confidence and competency but the slide into pride often comes "unawares."
Consider how often we hear the phrase "world-class" in our description of a leader, a department, an organization or any other breathing thing. I think I hear the phrase almost daily.
Invoking the title "world-class" is little more than a sophomoric tout or, at the least, it represents delusional puffery.
World-class athletes are easily discerned. They have medals of precious metals adorning their necks. The title "world-class athlete" is earned in battle and is supported by factual outcomes.
I don't know how a world-class teacher competes for such a title. When and where is the next race to be held? Will the 50-year career of a first-grade teacher in Cheyenne even be included in the group photo?
Is there a world-class measurement system for carpenters, accountants or podcasters? Do all competitors arrive at a ski slope to see who gets to the bottom the fastest? Is there a swim meet involved? Must each competitor wear a Speedo?
Paul said, "... knowledge puffs up while love builds up" (1 Cor. 8:1, NIV).
Haughty leaders have a great need to be taught. Many leaders become haughty by accident. Success can breed a certain swagger. But swag seems to be accompanied by brag.
Paul also spoke to the Romans about dodging the puff:
"Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Do not pretend to be wiser than you are" (Rom. 12:16, MEV).
The surest cure for haughtiness is to be on alert for people in need. We simply need to look away from the mirror.
If we are not of the world, why would we ever care to be labeled world-class?
Platform Tip No. 62
If your audience isn't listening, perhaps you have the wrong audience.
People in need are good listeners. If my foot is caught in a bear trap, I promise to listen very carefully as you tell me how to escape the trap.
"No story lives until someone wants to listen." — J.K. Rowling
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Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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