Leadership, YOUR leadership, MY leadership has a large opportunity to fail. It can easily happen. Consider Saul from the Bible. Israel’s first King! He had a chance to do amazing things with this leadership opportunity. Yet only 5 chapters after he was anointed King, God states: “I regret that I have made Saul King, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments…” (1 Samuel 15:11 ESV). His big chance for leadership ended in a huge leadership fail. We too can end just as poorly if we don’t learn from his mistakes.
I’ve decided to do a blog series on some of the messed up leadership attributes that Saul has displayed and if I’m honest I see an all to familiar reflection in these leadership fails….I see myself.
One of the things that Saul continued to do throughout his life is put the blame on other people. He rarely owned his issues or his mistakes. The real kicker in this story that always cracks me up is his fake façade with Samuel. He pretends to be super happy to see Samuel and BRAGS about himself and the marvelous job he did by doing what God asked him to do.
Saul is so worried about his image that he runs up to Samuel to prove his worth.
When Samuel calls him out on the spot where he neglected to listen to the Lord, Saul immediately blame shifts and states that: “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the LORD your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.”
He blames the people. He was willing to take credit with Samuel when he thought he could make Samuel think it was good but doesn’t own up to the failure! The scripture clearly states it was Saul and the People (1 Samuel 15:8-9)…not just the people!
We as leaders need to be the first ones to own up to a problem. We should be in the front honestly waving our hands when someone asks who is responsible. In my experience, I fear we are like Saul way too often in our leadership
Leaders MUST own problems. When the people we follow see us owning up to our failures, they can feel free to own up to theirs.
Good leaders own failures and seek to make it right.
This sad story of Saul’s leadership fail was the beginning of the end for our man Saul, because at the end of this story, we find that God regretted making Saul king: “Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.” (1 Samuel 15:34-35 ESV)
I know for sure that I struggle with this Leadership Fail…I fail to own up to my mess ups, I try to pin the tail on some other donkey but no donkey fits my tail quite like I do.
I’m tired of failing at owning up to my mistakes. I want to be the type of leader that God desires in leadership. I don’t desire to be the self-absorbed donkey that so many people turn into (and I myself have been!). It’s tough owning our failures…but it must be done!
Where have you failed to own a mistake and it caused a leadership fail? Where have you experienced a leader who failed here? Let’s start a conversation