Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flawed Leaders

Earlier today I was talking with one of the guys on staff about Leading With A Limp by Dan Allender. I read it a year ago or so and it made a pretty deep impact on the way I think about leadership. Anyway, I pulled my copy off the book shelf and read a few portions this afternoon.

In a chapter entitled "No More Jackasses" Allender begins by quoting from the book of Ecclesiastes:

Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
I saw the tears of the oppressed -
and they have no comforter;
power was on the side of their oppressors -
and they have no comforter.
And I declared that the dead,
who had already died,
are happier than the living,
who are still alive.
But better than both
is he who has not yet been,
who has not seen the evil
that is done under the sun.

And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's evny of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

"The book of Ecclesiastes is thick, blood-red meat to a world that prefers the more easily digested milk of simple solutions. If the writer is accurate, the motivation of most leaders is not greed or even power, but envy. It is not inaccurate to say people live for the 'green,' but the green is not money. It is envy.

"The passage that opened this chapter suggests that envy is what breeds the oppression of the weak and that envy is the reason the oppressed have no comforters. In fact, it is better to have never been born that to have to suffer a world made mad and cruel through envy. Envy makes a human heart beastly - like an ass.

"Note the difficult message being delivered to those who have power: if you exercise power and authority over others, you are probably an oppressor. We leaders misuse our power when we envy what we perceive others possess and then attempt to take it from them. Envy arises because we are not grateful for how God has written our world or for how he has blessed us. Envy comes from a sense of inadequacy and emptiness rooted in our woundedness. The more a person is driven by emptiness and inadequacy, the more self-centered and violent that person will become - and the more oppression he will bring into the world."

Allender's description sounds pretty bleak. Perhaps he paints with too broad a brush. But when I pull back the curtain of my life to see what is deep inside I find myself identifying with the flaws, wounds, and outright sins that Allender identifies as common among leaders.

More later...

No comments: