The Leadership Mirror


A leader’s mood profoundly influences those around him as people tend to reflect their leader’s tone, whether it’s good or bad. -Charles Stone, from People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval-Motivated Leadership

One of the things many leaders forget is the power of their attitude, presence and words.

Here’s some examples:

  • Chris is a energetic and excited, about everything. He exudes confidence that everything his church attempts will work.
  • When Tim talks to volunteers about his ministry, he downplays how great it is. Instead, he talks about how much of a sacrifice it is to serve, how hard it is.
  • Linda always has a listening ear. No matter who it is, or what the topic, she will listen, give advice, pray with you and then check back in with you.
  • Patrick recently hit a physical wall. He struggled to turn off his phone, take his days off and unplug from ministry. Consequently, he had nothing left to give. While his team picked up the slack as he took a few weeks off, when he arrived back rested and ready to go, he lost several key leaders because they were now too tired.
  • Tom sat in a meeting and threw out an idea. At the time, he didn’t think anything of it or think it would happen. The following Sunday, he walked into the kids ministry and saw signs and decorations up that were exactly like his idea.

Each of these leaders are people I’ve met. What they failed to realize at the time is everything they do reverberates as a leader. In the same way that a skyline reflects in water or a person reflects in a mirror, a ministry, church or team become a reflection of the leader. 

As a leader of an organization, every word you say carries weight, so you have to be careful and wise with your words. -Dave Ramsey

I talked to a children’s pastor recently who told me, “The kids ministry I lead is so bad, I wouldn’t bring my kid to it. There’s no excitement at all.” One of the other pastors looked at him and said, “You’re the leader, fix it. If you don’t like the ministry you lead, you are the only person with the power to fix it. You also have no one else to blame for its lack of excitement or ineffectiveness.”

What many leaders fail to realize is that they hold the power to fix the attitudes, relationships, excitement and movement within their church or ministry.

Given enough time, a church or ministry simply become a reflection of the leader. 

I learned this several years ago when I didn’t manage my emotions well. I got tired and had very little to give. Several months after this episode, when I was starting to feel healthy, I noticed there were others who weren’t handling their emotions well and were burning out from giving too much without rest.

They were reflecting what they saw me do.

This is similar to John Maxwell’s law of the lid. This law states that as a leader, if you are an 8 on a scale of 1-10, you will only attract and keep at best, 7’s. The law of the lid relates to this, in that, no one will be more bought in or excited than the leader. You are the lid for your church.

You as the leader, are also the reflection (humanly speaking) of your ministry.


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