This past week’s lesson in leadership for the teen group was based on Leadership EGO from the Lead Like Jesus program by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Leadership EGO is not what you think it is. EGO is in all capital letters because it is an acronym. What the acronym means depends on what type of leader you are. Are you a self-serving leader or a servant leader? For self-serving leaders, it means Edging God Out. For servant leaders, it means Exalting God Only.
Self-serving leaders Edge God Out for the two primary causes of pride and fear. Pride is an overly high opinion of yourself. It is an exaggerated esteem of yourself which manifests as haughtiness and arrogance. This stands in stark contrast to the servant leader who manifests Romans 12:3 (KJV), “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;” and Philippians 2:3 (KJV), “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
Fear is a God given mechanism that can either be live-giving or life-threatening. Life-giving fear leads to a worshipful attitude toward our Creator and a gratitude for what we’ve been given in life. King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, concluded the book of Ecclesiastes with these words: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Life-threatening fear is toxic fear. As with pride, toxic fear leads to separation from God, separation from others and even separation from ourselves. Toxic fear is steeped in the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 (KJV) says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: But whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”
Self-serving leaders always separate themselves from God, other people and themselves. They always compare themselves to others on a material basis and are never happy with where they find themselves. Self-serving leaders always distort the truth into a false sense of security or fear. Separating ourselves from God and other people is self-explanatory. If you are a self-serving leader, you know this is happening in your life. Separating yourself from you takes a little explanation. We separate ourselves from self when we are too sensitive to other people’s opinions to listen to our own heart. We’re too busy fixing other people’s problems to recognize the mess in our own lives. We make too many excuses and spend too little time turning from our bad behaviors. We are too full of our own agendas to wait for God’s answer.
Servant leaders measure success in terms of how well they are following God’s plan for their life. They build community and fellowship; are content and generous with their material blessings and time; trust God and the truth of His Word; and are inspirational and committed. The good news is that if your are a self-serving leader today, you can become a servant leader of tomorrow if you commit to altering your Leadership EGO. Here’s how to go about it.
Embrace an eternal perspective of the here and now in light of the then and there. Seek to lead for a higher purpose in life. This means to seek to lead beyond success or significance. Seek to lead to obedience and surrendered service to God. Feedback is always a gift. Conscientiously assess your level of trust and surrender to what you believe about God, His Kingdom and His claim on your life and leadership. And seek the promised guidance of life’s ultimate coach, the Holy Spirit. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 (KJV), “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” My prayer for you today is that you develop into the leader God means you to be.