The number one trait people desire in those who lead them is honesty. Honesty means telling it like it is, embracing reality, and stripping off the Emperor’s new clothes. People already know most of our weaknesses. They live with our gaps everyday. People don’t expect us to be perfect. They do expect us to acknowledge the obvious. The question they are asking is: Will my leader own the gap between what what he or she says and does?
One hallmark of servant leaders is their ability to grow in public – to own the gap.
The apostle Paul, among the greatest of servant leaders, knew what it meant to grow in public. He frequently wrote of his own blunders. He told aspiring church pastors that yearning to oversee people is a noble task. After listing several fundamental criteria for leadership, including a well-balanced blend of character qualities and competencies, he closed with an invitation to grow.
“Practice these things,” Paul said, “devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.”
Lesson for us: Learn to own the gap.
Quotes from 1 Timothy 3:1 & 4:15