Thom Rainer Shares Personal Leadership Lessons He’s Learned the Hard Way

Dr. Thom Rainer
Dr. Thom Rainer

I am not a great leader.

In fact, there are times I’ve wondered if I am even a good leader.

I have positional leadership, but that does not mean I am truly a leader.

There are several reasons for this rather negative self-assessment, but the essence of my own evaluation comes from my failure to learn quickly and adjust. It’s one thing to make a mistake as a leader; we all do. But it’s another to make a mistake and not learn from it immediately. That reality describes me way too often.

My transparency is not one of false humility. I am sharing these five lessons with the hopes and prayers it will help others. These are lessons I’ve learned the hard way because I have too often failed to adjust even when I’ve known I need to do so.

1. I sometimes am unprepared to lead on a given day because I have not been in the Word. Think for a moment of the absurdity of my disobedience. I have the opportunity to be in God’s Word, to hear directly from Him, and I fail to do so. I cannot imagine a more blatant act of poor leadership than this one.

2. I have almost given up right before my greatest victories as a leader. I know. At least I didn’t give up. At least I got to realize God’s victories for me. But it begs the question: How many times have I really given up and, thus, failed to see His way to victory? How many times have I been a quitter instead of a leader?

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Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.