I’ve been reading a lot about the inner life of leaders recently. It is great to have the tools of how to cast vision, build teams and lead things, but if your character falls apart, if you aren’t able to handle conflict, criticisms, setbacks, etc. it can destroy your leadership. Recently I’ve been hearing about a number of leaders who have been falling out leadership because of sin, stress, burnout and I want to finish well. Reggie McNeal writes about this better than anyone I’ve seen. You can read my review of one of his other books Practicing Greatness here.
In A Work of Heart, he takes a similar track as Practicing Greatness. In this one though, he looks at Moses, David, Jesus and Paul to see how God shaped their hearts, their inner lives to make them the leaders they are.
According to McNeal, when a leader loses heart, he loses. When a leader does not lose heart, he becomes a champion, not a victim.
He looked at:
- Family of origin and where they came from.
- The call on their lives, why they are here.
- Community, how they connected with others around them.
- Communion, how they related to God.
- Conflict, how they deal with criticism, those who difficult to lead.
- And the commonplaces of their world, the ordinary things we often miss in terms of shaping our lives.
- Leaders are driven by causes and willing to personally risk involvement.
- The leader is an instrument in the Lord’s hand to help others have the opportunity to live their lives with greater significance and in relationship with God.
- The cauldron of conflict shapes the heart of the leader. Each instance forces a redefinition of the leader’s mission, values, and actions.
- Leaders content that their life could not be understood apart from their call. The call provides them with their life direction. It informs their decisions by reorienting their priorities and establishing a new set of core values. The call provides a content that becomes their life message.They would not be who they are without it.
- Leaders who give their best efforts to their current assignments from God are prepared for their next level of influence.
- Leaders become leaders, in part, because they are willing to wrestle with who they are, who they want to become, how they can overcome some deficit in their own lives.
- Leaders who create team figure out how to empower others, literally giving power away.