Every leader needs wise advisors. One of the first things the President of the United States does after they are elected is to establish his cabinet of “wise counselors.” To be healthy as a leader, we need to seek out others for personal advice as well as for counsel on critical decisions. No leader, no matter how powerful the position, knows all the answers to all the issues he or she will face. In fact, one of the most critical decisions any leader will make is whom they select to help them lead.
Pride or even insecurity can be a barrier to seeking advice. Leaders need to guard against both. It is not a sign of weakness to seek out the help of others but rather a sign of strength. Ultimately, a leader must make the call but seeking input from others will help pave the way for success.
I have been blessed to have many counselors and advisers in my life. The first I recall was one of my eight grade teachers, Mr. Rose. One day, he asked me to stay after class and he gave me great counsel that I still lean on today. Basically, he advised me to be careful not to take on too much which is an issue I battle. Mr. Rose pointed out several leadership roles I had including directing the school play (which I had written), leading two school clubs, and hosting the parent open house! A real case study. Because Mr. Rose truly cared about me, I received his counsel and it has made a difference in my life.
Here are a few other nuggets of wisdom I have received from others that have greatly influenced my leadership:
- The flip side of your strength is your weakness. Always be aware of both and put people around you to help sharpen your strengths and fill the gaps in your weakness.
- Remember it will be your family that will care for you when you are old not the people you work with. Never neglect your family.
- Take a family vacation every year no matter the cost. It will be a great investment in the future.
- The most difficult people in your life may be about God doing a work in you not in them.
- Remember your work is people. Whatever else you are doing comes second.
- Remember your life is like a candy bar. There are only so many bites so live well.
When I took the position of President of B&H Publishing, I had a dear friend pray over me. Her words of advice have helped me be a better leader. She said, “God has put you in this role and always remember it is because of who you are not who you will become. Be yourself and use the gifts God has already given you. Never try to be someone other than you.”
God’s Word is a great place of leadership wisdom and counsel. A few that stand out for me are:
- “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1; 2-3
- “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
- “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13
- “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
I would love to hear some key nuggets of wisdom you have received or maybe a verse of scripture that guides your leadership.