Leaders, its time for a checkup!

I didn’t really want to write this blog or address this issue to be honest. I’m tired, weary and saddened by the amount of Christian (and other) high profile leaders who are caught up in scandal, moral failure, abusive or toxic leadership and with all of these issues, losing their integrity and their legacy. It’s almost become another pandemic or so it seems.

How do we make sense of it all?

Firstly, let’s remind ourselves that for every high profile leadership fail there are thousands of other leaders faithfully living out their calling with integrity.

Secondly, let’s be aware our culture is changing rapidly, what seemed normative is now defined otherwise and we now live in a cancel culture where there seems little space or grace for error, forgiveness or restoration.

Thirdly, God is doing something in terms of cleaning up his church and calling us to a higher standard of life and leadership. I heard Danielle Strickland recently address this issue off the back of another high profile leadership fail and she said this,

“The exposing of sin is not darkness winning it is the evidence of God moving.

With that as a backdrop I want to appeal to all of us who lead, it’s time for a checkup.

We are often encouraged to check yourselves these days and I sense there are 3 checkups we each need to make.

1. Check your blind spots

The classic line when it comes to blind spots is this, ‘we all have blind spots and if you say you don’t have any, that’s yours right there!!!’ In recent times I’ve been struck by a phrase I keep hearing in relation to leaders and it’s got under my skin and unnerved me, it goes like this;

Oh that’s just _______’ and you can fill in the blank with the name.

It ‘s almost an admission and a resignation to this idea, that there’s something in a person that is a flaw or a weakness that is causing difficulty and maybe even pain or harm to others but it comes with the territory, it’s just them! Leaders we have to stop this…yes of course there is always a shadow side to our strengths and of course we are all a work in progress, but if people see something in me that isn’t great, that isn’t me at my best that could be sabotaging my life or leadership or causing harm or pain to others,  I hope someone loves me enough to tell me the truth and not to merely throw up their hands in the air or roll their eyes and say, ‘Oh that’s just Leon!!’

Leaders we can’t be the measure of how others are experiencing us, we can’t see our blind spots (by definition) which is why we need others to help us and when they do let us listen, it might just save our leadership and our legacy. I’m constantly amazed by hearing about so many great leaders who go on to ‘lose the room’ and it could have been avoided if they’d have checked their blind spots more often.

2. Check your cellar

Recently I heard a powerful quote that again stopped me in my tracks and it’s this;

If you dont deal with your demons they will go into the cellar of your soul and lift weights– Amanda Palmer

Ouch…

Leaders, are we dealing with our demons and I don’t just mean the obvious ones, sex, addiction, greed, power but what about the more subtle ones such as insecurity, rejection, pride, fear of failure, the addiction of being special, love of the limelight, imposter syndrome, ego, bitterness, envy and the list goes on? If we don’t, might it be that all the time we are not dealing with them they are getting stronger and stronger and one day, maybe even when we retire from organisational leadership, maybe then they will appear and cause havoc? It’s a sobering thought and one that causes me to reflect and ask, ‘whats going on in the cellar of my soul?

3. Check your cloud

Isn’t everything in the cloud these days? If it’s backed up it will be in the cloud, if it’s stored somewhere check your cloud, if you need to download it access your cloud, your cloud is your king without your cloud you’re lost!

The writer of Hebrews didn’t have an apple product of any description but he (or she) suggested the importance of your cloud in the running of your race.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”Hebrews 12:1 NIVUK

The image is powerful, a group of people in your cloud cheering you on. Witnesses who have run the race, people who are further on than you, people who want the best for you, who have your back, who bring the best out of you. People who love you enough to tell you the truth even when it hurts.

Oscar Wilde famously said, ‘a true friend stabs you in the front!’

So who is in your cloud these days? Who is cheering you on, pointing out your blind spots, helping you identify any demons in your cellar?

Why are these checkups so crucial to leaders?

Too many leaders are failing to finish their race well…Too many leaders are losing their reputation and legacy…Too many leaders are hurting too many people…and there’s too much at stake…

We can do better….let’s check ourselves before we wreck ourselves

“Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups….”2 Corinthians 13 v.5 MSG

4 thoughts on “Leaders, its time for a checkup!”

  1. I love this post I feel it’s the little foxes that we seem to ignore those are the ones that spoil the vine. It reminds me when Jesus was tempted by satan right at the start of his ministry. We can see that satan had nothing in Jesus that could tempt him when we are called satan knows what our Achilles heel is and like you say if we don’t deal with them he will keep telling us if you bow down to me you can have it all. He will always wait for an opportune time that’s why it’s so important to have those Around us that are the watchmen on the walls 🙏🙏🙏

  2. Keith Spurgin

    Great stuff Leon!
    I love the idea of “Who is in your cloud?”
    Too often leadership naturally isolates us from the people who could and should be speaking into our lives. If we are not continually inviting them in they won’t and we are quickly in trouble…and as you named, we don’t even know it. I’ve got some people I need to re-up with. I’m going to do that today.
    Great job.

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