limits of leadership

Taking an online course, Dynamics of Leadership. Great deal b/c I’m auditing as a DTS alum — no homework, streaming videos of Howard Hendricks in action, plus transcripts of the lectures. Better than sitting in class to take notes! It’s a course I’ve heard great reputation about, and it’s taken the past decade for me to realize the cost of leadership and what it takes. Way more than what I’ve got in me, I’ll say.

It’s been sobering as of late, as I heard of a news item about someone I know. But I’m refraining from commenting on it b/c of the raw gossipy nature of media, news, and personal failures and allegations. Veiled reference to protect the innocent until proven guilty. It’s yet another item for prayer, as well as the brokenness of humanity, the limits of leadership.

So much of that leadership talk is of the pump-it-up motivational variety, limitless bounds on dreaming big, getting the troops to conquer the world and more. Blindingly optimistic. That stuff motivates the masses, but not me. And yet it is a part of a leader’s job to motivate. But my question is: who picks up the pieces? The track record of leaders across the board is not pretty. I’ll quote from Howard Hendricks:

“The Bible mentions approximately 1,000 leaders. Only 100 of them do you have enough data in order to get the full picture. This is what I want you to remember. Are you ready for this? Of the 100 leaders about whom we have sufficient data, only one third of them finished well. And most of them failed in the last half of their life. It is a very profound study.” (excerpt from CL205 Unit 02B )

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  1. Dj, The stat is interresting but i wonder how “failure” was defined in the study?

    Either way, we need to take James 3:1 serously when we think of leading and instructing in this cultural shift.

    “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”

  2. tony sheng says:

    Hi DJ, thanks for posting that… what a stunning statistic. I know I would love to hear more of your thoughts from the class…