Address This or Lose Your Strength

The common leadership counsel to focus on your strengths is wise, with one important caveat. Your weaknesses must be addressed and brought to an acceptable norm or they will overshadow your strengths. Yes, focus on your strengths, but your weaknesses cannot be so overwhelming as to debilitate your leadership credibility. In his book, The Leadership Code, Dave Ulrich challenges leaders to be at least average in key disciplines of leadership or their weakness will crush them. Yet many leaders choose to ignore their weaknesses completely for the following two reasons:

1. We think our strengths are stronger than they are.

One primary reason leaders ignore their weaknesses is they overestimate their strengths. Overestimating your strengths is often synonymous with underestimating your weaknesses. A leader who overestimates his/her own strengths can unwisely ignore his/her weaknesses. The leader can shrug off the need to address certain leadership deficiencies because the leader assumes, “but I am so very strong in this area.” Having a higher view of oneself than one should always leads to foolish decision-making.

2. We hate to admit we are weak.

To address our weaknesses, we must first admit we have them, and we hate to admit we are weak. Pride keeps leaders from admitting their weaknesses and addressing them. Pride always hampers our effectiveness and our learning. But wise leaders admit their weaknesses, rely on others, and seek to grow and mature.

Of all leaders, Christian leaders should be the first to admit and address their weaknesses. Our faith is not for the strong, but for the weak. And we are all weak. We became Christians by recognizing our weakness, our inability to qualify ourselves to stand before God, and by relying on God for His mercy and grace. We continue in the faith by humbly depending on God’s strength, not by standing in our own. We live as Christians by walking in community with others who hold us up, who encourage us, and by refusing to live independently from others.

The cross has already shown us to be weak. Therefore, we can freely admit our weaknesses and seek to grow.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Are there any reliable statistics about the percentage of church plants that fail after 3 years in the US?
— Jon Moore
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston

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