Humility is compassionate, but humility also has a hard edge. There is a time and place where compassion must yield. Where does a humble leader draw the line?
A leader draws the line where compassion and conviction collide.
A humble leader should always respond with gracious poise, but must never veer from their priorities and principles. While a leader should love and care for all whom they come in contact with, it’s never at the expense of their convictions. A leader understands that feelings are real, but many times are not reliable. Principles are tried and true methods of achieving a particular result and almost always supersede the fickleness of feelings.
Here’s a simple (and personal) example: I don’t FEEL like working out and eating healthy today, but I know if I succumb to my feelings, it will be impossible for me to accomplish my health goals. If I want to reach my health goals, then my principles — tried and true methods — must guide me to working out and eating healthy, even though I don’t feel like it. If I consistently chose my feelings over my principles, I would never meet my health goals. Though my feelings are real, they are not as reliable as my principle based convictions.
(Today it was a battle, but I chose to run 4 miles and eat an egg-white omelette with avocado for breakfast. I’m so pumped that I’m one step closer to my fitness goals!!! Summer six-pack here we come! Ha!)
A leader must be guided by principles, not feelings, if they want to realize their goals. This is where compassion and conviction collide.
Think about the following differences between LEADERS and FOLLOWERS described by Dr. John Maxwell:
- Leaders ACT from principles. Followers often REACT from their feelings.
- Leaders EMPOWER others, even when it’s difficult. Followers often WITHDRAW in difficult times.
- Leaders live off of CHARACTER. Followers live off EMOTIONS.
60 Second Challenge:
Take 60 seconds to think about how you responded to a recent leadership challenge. It could be something you faced in your marriage, a relationship, at work, at church, in your parenting, etc). How did you react or respond? Was it more like a LEADER or FOLLOWER? Was it feelings based or principle based?
21 Day Challenge:
Choose one area where you need to strengthen your “principle” muscle. Write it down and for the next 21 days choose to follow that principle no matter what your feelings say. Keep track of it daily, by writing down whether you followed your principles or your feelings concerning that area. Yes, it will be a bit uncomfortable; but — in less than a month — you will witness incredible gains toward accomplishing your goals (and you’ll have created a new habit).
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