When you picture an ideal hero or leader, who comes to mind? For me, men like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther, and William Wilberforce come to mind. Individuals who stood strongly for their beliefs and held their convictions with tenacity even in the face of great peril. Yet, these men, as strong as they might have been, were flawed. They had doubts, flaws, and weaknesses galore. With the exception of one ancient man (read: Jesus the Messiah), there will never be a perfect leader.
Have you ever met a person who does not admit their mistakes? When an error has been made, it is often placed on another person. It’s blamed on the government, their spouse, their society, or their barista. Or perhaps they trick you into siding with them through guilt, shame, or lies. The latter group are manipulative leaders, ones that frequently lead you down a path by pulling on your strings. Don’t you hate that?
I read on Donald Miller’s Storyline Blog that a good sign to look for in a manipulative leader is that they have a very difficult time admitting they are wrong. I think Miller is on to something there! A manipulator will always be right, no matter the outcome.
While I understand that we should minister to the “tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners,” we also need to be careful of getting trampled on by others. If you come across people like that, steer clear from them as much as you can. Life is so much better when we pick quality people to help speak into our lives. Certainly, associate with those who might be lost and hurting, but be careful when it comes to manipulative leaders.
Be mindful of your weaknesses and admit your faults. Be a servant-leader, it is only through this posture that we can steer clear from the temptation to manipulate others for our benefit.
What else makes a solid leader?