Once upon a time, there were three aspiring leaders---two men and a woman.
Each one was about to experience one of the greatest challenges for young leaders: they were about to received unrequested correction. Never a fun day---but a very telling day as each one’s different response proved whether they had what it takes to become a godly leader or whether their aspirations will ultimately prove unfruitful as they stubbornly continue on in their own way.
Only their actions will tell.
Our first aspiring leader was a young woman. Over the weekend, she worked very hard on a project, pouring her heart and soul into it. She did the best she could and she honestly believed in the project. Still, on Monday morning, her supervisor told her, “I’m sorry, we just can’t use the work you’ve done. We need to go in another direction. If you want you can try again.”
At this point our aspiring leader had a choice. She could be angry---frustrated to say the least. All of that work for nothing! How could her supervisor be so unfeeling?
Yet, this was not the approach that our aspiring leader took. Although she may or may not have felt these emotions, her reply to her supervisor was very calm and understanding. Not only that, but she went right to work on the project her supervisor needed…in a timely manner, her supervisor was given a new project that perfectly fit the needs of the company.
She had a good attitude, a strong work ethic, and most importantly, a teachable spirit…all qualities that make up a good leader. At the end of the day, her supervisor walked away not only impressed with her work, but with our aspiring leader’s character. Her actions told the story: this woman had true leadership potential.
Our next aspiring leader was a young man. His story was not quite so successful and that’s because his character wasn’t as strong as the young woman’s character. His Monday came with a warning. He was doing something wrong, and a fellow leader challenged him to make different choices and get back on the right track.
Unfortunately, this leader did not respond well. No, he was indignant. How dare anyone try to correct him? He had a title…he had prestige. Because of those two things, he felt untouchable.
Sadly, this aspiring leader proved that day that he didn’t have what it took to be a good leader. By continuing to make bad choices, he pretty much guaranteed that his chances of advancing in leadership were gone. He had a bad attitude, a bad work ethic, and a completely unteachable spirit.
He’s not talking to his fellow leader anymore. Only time will tell the end of his story…although history’s pretty much already told this story over and over again. Like the young man in Proverbs 5:12-14, it won’t be long before our second aspiring leader will be saying: “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.”
Enter our third aspiring leader. He was a gentleman who makes it well known that he has a call to full-time ministry. Yet, he has a problem with revenge. When an older leader corrected him, he responded by publically attacking the older leader. Although he thought he was embarrassing the older leader, all he was really doing was exhibiting his own inability to receive correction, work on a team, and lead people in a godly manner.
Only time will tell whether he’ll change his ways and reach his aspirations or allow his inability to receive correction destroy his leadership potential.
Three leaders. Three stories. Three different responses to correction.
One responded with anger and revenge.
One responded in pride.
One responded in humility with a teachable spirit.
Which of our aspiring leaders really has the potential to be a godly leader?
It was the one who showed her wisdom by her ability to accept correction and grow and change.
Proverbs 15:31-21 says, “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.”
Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
Proverbs 13:18 reads, “Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.”
Finally, Proverbs 10:17 says, “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”
Do you want to be a good leader?
Choose to be a person who accepts correction.
Do you want to be honored?
Accept godly discipline and use the correction to grow and mature.
Do you want to lead others into the way of life?
First, be a person who is open to being led into the way of life.
Accept godly advice.
Take a rebuke like a grown-up and be teachable.
Agree that you don’t know everything and be open to the advice, rebuke, and correction of those who have gone before.
It’s a big deal in God’s kingdom.
It’s what makes a man or woman a great leader.
It could be the difference between whether you remain an aspiring leader or get promoted into a position of actual leadership.
If you want to be a leader, you need to learn to love correction---that’s the moral of the story of the tale of three leaders.