More Harm than Good?

“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him-or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”

Parker Palmer, “Leading from Within”


As a leader, are you keeping up appearances or are you taking responsibility for your personal spiritual growth?

You may also like


  • janowen September 15, 2008  

    I think I am taking the responsibility for my own spiritual growth because I have to. I just can’t lead without it. At times it’s been easy to give into the temptation to use all I learn to teach others – to take in only to give out, so to speak.

    I think we must continually grow – as leaders, and as believers – and emotionally as well, an aspect I see us ignoring quite often.

    A great book on this is “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero and a great book on caring for your soul as a leader is the one Jenni wrote recently about “Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership” by Ruth Haley Barton. Both deal with issues of being spiritually or emotionally stunted as a leader…..

  • Mandi Cornett September 15, 2008  

    Ouch is right! A very important question and one that I have to bring up to the Spirit and have a heart check about-often. I can get so busy and pour and pour out into others but I have to be sure to “sit at the Lord’s feet”, just for me.

    Thanks…God Bless you.
    Serving Him with you, and striving to be responsible!

  • Heidi September 15, 2008  

    “The first order of things to be changed is me, the leader. After I consider how hard it is to change myself, then I will understand the challenge of trying to change others. This is the ultimate test of leadership.”
    [John Maxwell]

    I have this pasted inside my leadership clipboard.

    I cannot lead unless I am changed… faking it.. doesn’t work!!!

  • the OTHER Jenni September 15, 2008  

    wow! great quote! very convicting.

    thanks for posting it – it’s a great reminder!

  • janowen September 16, 2008  

    I’ve thought overnight about this and had two thoughts:

    1) As a believer, I must love Jesus for His sake alone. If I’m only doing it to gain or maintain a position, I am in dangerous territory.

    2) If I can’t lead myself I can’t lead anyone.

  • fullofboys September 16, 2008  

    I think that for a long time I was trying to keep up appearances…thinking that would prove myself as a leader. Being so young, I always felt I had to work harder to hold a spot…how crazy! There was something amazing that happened to me as a leader once I realized that the only thing I needed was a personal relationship with my Savior. I saw Him pour into me a heart for people that I never expected!

  • waswrittenin September 16, 2008  

    Wow… Jen… good question. I think that lately, I have realized (probably because of what we’ve been learning at church) that ultimately, I truly am responsible for my spiritual growth… and that my spiritual growth is going to make my “appearance” speak for itself. I guess, I am trying to take responsibility… which is a lot easier said than done 🙂

  • theepiphany September 16, 2008  

    I have definitely led before without a lot of attention to my own spiritual state. I’ve even been guilty of participating in habitual sin while in leadership -talk about serious CONVICTION!! I am finding that many of the worries and concerns of leadership are lessened significantly when my bigger priority is on personal intimacy with the Father. Leadership can either be draining or motivating – depends on Who you are letting do the real work.

  • Heidi September 16, 2008  

    I like Jan thought about it overnight..

    How can I lead if I can’t manage my own life?

  • Heidi September 16, 2008  


  • Pete Wilson September 17, 2008  

    I ignored this principle for a long time and paid a high price. So did the people I was leading. While I struggle with this from time to time I certainly understand and value this principle.

  • Chad Jarnagin September 17, 2008  

    dang. that’s nice.

    thank you for that Jenni.