The Leadership Secret
Then I said, “But Lord God, I don’t know how to speak. I am only a boy. “But the Lord said to me, “Don’t say, ‘I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you, and you must say everything I tell you to say. Don’t be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you,” says the Lord. - Jeremiah 1:6-8
3 Reasons Why Competitors Need To Be Inadequate
In an age that is obsessed with leadership, it is hard to find someone willing to talk about leadership in an authentic, transparent way – especially in the world of sports. When is the last time you heard a coach or athlete say any of the following statements?
I don’t know.
I think I am going to need some help.
I have some weaknesses.
Any sign of weakness means you are not a leader who is large and in charge. We are taught to never admit that you don’t know something, because if you do, then you just might be called an inadequate leader. But if you are tagged with that moniker, then you might have discovered one of the greatest leadership secrets of all time.
I believe that secret to leadership is this: all great leaders have the awareness of their personal limitations and inadequacy. The inadequate leader realizes that he or she is not all-powerful and doesn’t have all the answers. The leader realizes that he or she has gaps, blind spots and problems. He or she doesn’t try to pretend to have it all together.
Jeremiah gets it when he cries out to the Lord and says, “Lord, I am inadequate, and I can’t do what You are asking.” He realizes that he is not capable of completing the task without help. But God reminds Jeremiah that nothing is impossible with God; He does not need our strength. He simply needs our availability, faith and trust.
Here are three key characteristics of the Inadequate Leader:
- The Inadequate Leader has great self-awareness.
A survey of 75 members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council rated self-awareness as the most important capability for leaders to develop. When a leader knows his or her natural skills, strengths and spiritual gifts, then the leader understands his or her leadership fingerprint as well as weaknesses. Athletes and coaches need to be surrounded by others who have different strengths and rely on God to fill in the gaps.
- The Inadequate Leader doesn’t hide weaknesses.
Having self-awareness helps you to be candid and upfront about your weaknesses. It’s not thinking negatively about yourself; rather it is having a realistic self-appraisal. Even though this is hard for most competitors, identifying weaknesses can become a powerful thing when you can embrace them and rely on others. Lead with your strengths and lean on your weaknesses. Your weakness will be somebody else’s strength, and when you try to do it on your own, you are preventing someone else to lead with his or her strength. Be open about your weaknesses, because it empowers others.
- The Inadequate Leader realizes failure is inevitable without God’s intervention.
Counting on others is one thing, but counting on God is a whole other thing. F.B. Meyer wrote, “You never test the resources of God until you attempt the impossible.” The Inadequate Leader knows that failure is at the doorstep every single day unless God steps in. Athletes and coaches should develop a deep sense of anticipation to see what God will do in the world of sports.
Yes, we are inadequate, but God is not. Trust Him. Competing is a trust walk that forces us to completely rely on God to provide every step of the way.
- Have you ever considered inadequacy a key leadership trait? Why is that hard to embrace as an athlete or coach?
- Because of your weaknesses, how have you relied on your teammates?
- What does it look like for God to do the impossible in the world of sports?
Luke 18:27 Proverbs 3:5-6
“Father, teach me how to be inadequate so that I can depend on You, the Adequate One. I desire to see You do the impossible in the world of sports. I pray that You will redeem sports through Your love and power. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”