Humility, Christian Leadership, Pt. 4
Humility, Christian Leadership, Pt. 4By: Todd Hudnall
One of the key characteristics of servant leadership is humility. Servant-leaders are confident but their confidence is based in God and therefore they could be described as having “confident humility.” From his research on breakout leaders Thom Rainer writes, “They have a high level of confidence but no appearance of arrogance or haughtiness. They have personal ambitions, but they more often spoke of their ambitions for the churches they served.”
The importance of the characteristic of humility for servant leaders is explained by Bob Gunn in an article that appeared in Strategic Finance Magazine:
Actually, humility is probably the crucial attribute. People who are genuinely humble are freed from the tyranny of their ego. It is tyranny in the sense that it is egotism that causes leaders to refuse to face facts. Surely you have seen bosses cling to a rosy view of conditions, fearing that to admit otherwise would, in some way, discredit them. Egotism isolates leaders from others. Business is a collective game, not an individual pursuit, but what happens to morale and teamwork when leaders invoke rank in small ways and large? Egotism makes it hard for leaders to ask the right questions. In fact, leaders often pride themselves on knowing all the answers. Egotism undermines teamwork. It is hard to work collaboratively when someone wants to hog the credit. Egotism paralyzes leaders when novel situations arise. Insights are hard to come by when fear takes over. Egotism makes leaders refuse to share credit, causing the best people to move on. Perhaps you know people who have been given superlative gifts yet have the grace to wear those gifts lightly. Isn't it wonderful spending time with them? When talented people like this see themselves as being just ordinary, they somehow bring out the best in everyone else.
The Scripture places great value on humility. In his first epistle Peter shares a key principle and an important promise.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time (1 Pet. 5:5-6).
Christian leaders need God’s grace and empowerment. They certainly do not need the Lord resisting their efforts. Pride blinds us to our weaknesses, leads to defensiveness and independence. A prideful and arrogant leader repels potential followers. Every Christian leader should have a deep dependence upon God and the assistance of others. A humble leader will seek out the wisdom and insight of others. Let’s pray our lives as leaders would be characterized by the humility of Jesus Christ (John 13).