Let's look at some aspects of where the cost is high for people in a place of leadership or aspiring to it.
- Criticism – Saying "I can't handle it" basically means you are emotionally immature. If you can accept it, it will work for your good. Criticism is hard to take at the time, but the only way to really get to know ourselves is by feedback from other people. Backslappers help us feel better about ourselves but we don't actually profit by them. Real change and emotional growth comes by facing our weaknesses and personality defects as others see us. As a leader, you are more visible, which means you are more susceptible to criticism. A mature leader is able to say, in essence, "Thank you for your criticism of my life. It has led me to a deeper self-examination, which I needed."
- Fatigue – Genuine leaders know when to put in extra hours and must be willing to rise early and study longer than others. Some have great stamina, but fatigue will frequently set in if you want to go somewhere with an organization. A wise leader will try to find a balance and seek and avocation, a change of pace to reduce stress. He must seek some pleasurable recreation or he will eventually lose his usefulness. Proper health care, rest and balance will help a leader maintain his ability to persist.
- Time to think – A leader must take time for creative thinking and meditation. Most people are too busy to take time to really think. If you have an objective, it takes time to think it through to determine the best method to meet the goal. "The solution is not to work harder, but to work smarter." Most successful ventures are achieved only after many hours of deep thinking and careful scrutiny.
- Loneliness – A strong leader must be able to identify readily with people but not become "one of the boys." A leader has to be ready to walk away from the crowd and be alone like Jesus did. He must both identify with and be isolated from people. A true leader promotes others, their interests, values and goals, at the same time striving to fulfill his own goals without being absorbed into the group. The prophets were extremely lonely, misunderstood and rejected. Leaders are often set apart. It is a price they must pay. One reason loneliness is difficult in leadership is because God made us social creatures.
- Identification – To identify with people, the leader must pay the price of taking time to know God's Word and to share people's emotions, victories and defeats. You cannot reach God-given objectives by yourself in isolation, so you have to take time to develop and relate to the team. I Corinthians 9:19-23 "I become all things to all men, in order to win some."
- Make unpleasant decisions – A leader has to make decisions that affect the ultimate good of the organization which sometimes means removing someone who is not measuring up to the stated standard. A person who constantly or consistently fails to perform with distinction is a hindrance to an organization's effectiveness. To let this person continue his responsibility affects the whole group in a negative way. It hinders its progress and dynamic. Really, you are doing him a favor if he's not doing a good job. He is being destroyed on the inside by pressure and strain.
- Competition – This is not a bad term. Without it, man has little drive to achieve. A leader must keep his competitive edge sharp if he is going to achieve his goals. Love to win, but at the same time, be willing to accept the risks of failure.
- False pride & jealousy – Popularity can affect a leader's performance. Feelings of infallibility and indispensability will decrease his effectiveness. Every person must have some pride; it is good to be proud of achievement. It is false pride when we become wrapped up in ourselves to the point that other people count for little. A leader is more effective if he can point people to the group or organization he leads. He must stay humble – "not to think of himself more highly than he ought." A leader who has been admired for a long time may overreact when others get promoted. Do not let jealousy to set in, because "before honor comes humility."
- Utilization of time – a price to pay. We are born lazy. Managing your own time really means managing yourself. If you have two leaders of equal ability, the one who best uses his time by planning his time will far outperform the other person. Plan your time. Some people put things off until they find time. You must make time.
- Rejection – Be ready to pay the price of personal rejection. John 1:11 "He came unto His own and His own received Him not." The leader puts the praise of God above the praise of men. He is not afraid to make an unpopular stand. He must be motivated by the love of God to handle it and also by the love of his people and his work.
What Excellence in Leadership Requires
- A desire for achievement - In Joshua 14:12 Caleb said, "Give me this mountain." It is fundamental if a person is to be a self-starter. The Christian leader's highest ambition must be to bring honor and glory to Christ.
- An understanding and acceptance of authority and a sensitivity to using authority at just the right time. To get subordinates to act upon your desire, you need to demonstrate all 4 of the following qualities:
- Authority of competance
- Authority of position
- Authority of personality
- Authority of character
Three of the above can be cultivated and excellence in leadership is found only where a person will make those sacrifices necessary to improve and strengthen himself.
- Self-Discipline – To lead others, a person must have self-control. Many people have unused gifts, both spiritual and natural, but either scorn authority or shirk the discipline to attain, and therefore quit along the way. The effective leader is the one willing to work while others sleep, play or waste time. He also constantly evaluates his abilities and his weaknesses.
- Creativity – He takes time for creative thinking and meditation. Creative thinking simply means the ability to do original thinking, not day dreaming. He takes time to think through and determine the best methodology to meet the goal.
- Delegation – He is able to work effectively through others. Dwight L. Moody said, "I would rather put 1,000 men to work than do the work of 1,000 men."
- Decisiveness – The ability to make a swift, clear decision
- Persistence – Courage is the desire to begin and persistance is the desire to continue
- A balanced life – Rest, work, play, food
- Faith & prayer – II Thessalonians 1:3 "Your faith groweth exceedingly" – more effective, accurate, disciplined, fruitful praying