Self leadership is an often overlooked key to effective leadership. Before you can lead others effectively, you must be able to lead yourself. As Church leaders (and leaders in every arena) we must be masters of our own lives. Bill Hybels, the Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church calls it “The Art of Self Leadership” Proverbs 25:28 tells us, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city—struck down without walls.” A leader who is not able to rule over their own life is truly like “a city that is broken down and without walls.” They become vulnerable to all kinds of attack and error, often at their own hand and as result not only shipwreck their life, but negatively impact those they lead. Proverbs 25:28 is warning us of the need to fortify the “city” of our life.
While there are many different aspects of self leadership that are needed to strengthen our lives as leaders, the most important is that of character. Without character, leaders have nothing. Character is integrity, honesty and goodness. Character safeguards our heart from pride, lust, greed, and selfishness. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
As leaders we can overcome a wrong decision, poor communication, or honest mistakes, but recovering from moral and ethical compromise is nearly impossible. If the trust of a leader is lost, it is almost never regained. In his book “Next Generation Leadership” Andy Stanley made this statement: “We are always one decision, one word, one reaction away from damaging what has taken years to develop.” In other words what has take twenty, thirty, or even forty years of faithful service to God to build can be destroyed with one compromising decision.
I want to encourage you to invest in developing and guarding your personal character. It is the foundation of – “Self Leadership”. Guard against becoming careless or over confident. Never trust your flesh. (Philippians 3:3) Practice discretion and lead by
example. Maintain a spirit of humility. Godly character is consistently doing the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason. As leaders lets build a foundation of Godly character to do exactly that. Here are 3 Biblical tips to developing Godly character:
1. Hate evil and love good.
Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. ” (Romans 12:9 NCV).
2. Don’t keep bad company.
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character. ” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV)
3. Have perseverance.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4 NIV).
I am praying for this generation of Godly leaders to excel and finish strong. Take time for “SELF LEADERSHIP”! As leaders we tend to focus on leading others and neglect the self development we need. Ask for God’s help, wisdom and grace. Take time for consistent reflection and rest. Self-leaders make time for personal prayer and devotion. Keeping a spiritually strong and healthy heart is the best gift a leader can give those they lead.