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Limitation Awareness

June 22, 2017
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Christian leaders should strive to have a proper understanding of their own limitations, set aside time for self-examination, and be willing to admit workplace shortcomings. When leaders critically examine their strengths and weaknesses, it gives them a distinct advantage for personal growth and the insight necessary for building healthy organizations. People don’t want to work for a know-it-all. There is nothing more frustrating than working for a boss that has everything already figured out. People love to work in environments where there is a melding of spiritual gifts and natural talents that strengthen the fiber of the organization. It’s an environment that has complimentary and cascading participation, eliminating or minimizing unnecessary defects and needless waste. 

How am I doing? What do I need to improve? These are two terrific questions to ask one’s co-workers and those that one is working for. It cuts right to the bottom-line of continuous improvement and signals to everyone that you are acknowledging your vocational limitations. This process should be as easy as apple pie. There should be no worries that you are opening yourself up to unnecessary critique, censure, and the possibility of being fired. On the contrary, by being forthcoming with one’s limitations, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. If Christian leaders take the initiative to ask for help in specific areas of needed workplace improvement, it demonstrates personal responsibility and the potential for assuming higher levels of organizational leadership and authority later on. The Apostle Paul was very open about his limitations in the flesh and was used mightily by God.

“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” (2 Corinthians 12:7)

The Apostle Paul was one of the most sophisticated intellectuals and religious scholars of his day. He was a person that God used to write a significant portion of the New Testament. Yet, God saw fit to give him a thorn in the flesh to remind him of his limited human capacity on earth and the need to rely on the Creator of this world. There may have been a propensity towards high-minded thinking or other improvement areas for Paul that the Lord wanted to reel in. The Bible doesn’t specifically say what the thorn in the flesh was, but what we do know is that Paul was acutely aware of the importance of self-examination. The Lord used the Apostle Paul to remind us of our duty in the book of first Corinthians concerning the Lord’s Supper.  

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:28)

The church ordinance relating to the Lord’s Supper is to be used as a solemn and serious time to remember our Lord and the blood atoning sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. We are to root out and ask forgiveness for any remnant of sin and iniquity that we have in our lives. 

That same internally focused thought process of self-examination should be used by Christian leaders everywhere on a continual basis. In addition to leaders dealing with sin issues that they may be harboring, we also need to thoroughly explore and acknowledge workplace shortcomings. We need to ask ourselves, “Lord what do I need to learn and what do you want to teach me here at work?” If one is self-aware and has the spiritual maturity and insight to perform such a check, the capacity to lead will be strengthened.

Alternatively, unattended blind spots can limit one’s upward organizational mobility if not given serious attention. When senior leaders meet to discuss follower readiness levels, those with the unattended blind spots generally remain in their current positions of leadership. Sometimes, the nature and degree of those blind spots factor into the decision-making process of whether or not to promote. Leaders may see a small and insignificant leadership flaw that hasn’t been dealt with and decide to go in another direction. That is why seeking the counsel of others is such an important thing to do even in the work environment.

Christian leadership coaches and mentors can help smooth out the rough edges that we may be unaware of relating to our leadership styles and help put us back on the right track. It is well worth the time, effort, and investment of securing a reliable and experienced Christian coach. It is never too late to ask for help.

I recently had a coaching experience from someone that I consider to be an experienced mentor who uncovered a blind spot and helped point me in the right direction. While the coaching experience wasn’t significant or life altering, it was very relevant, sound, and logical counsel relating to an issue of the CLWI ministry. Identifying one’s limitations or blind spots can be as easy or as hard as one makes it. Here is a simple 5-step process.

  1. Willingness – It all starts with having the humility and willingness to change. Christian leaders must be willing to let themselves be vulnerable and exposed to potential areas of limitation and weakness
  2. Seek – Once the human spirit is willing, then Christian leaders start actively seeking opportunities to look in the mirror through coaching and counsel.
  3. Understand and Acknowledge – As those opportunities for self-examination and reflection present themselves, Christian leaders should diligently seek the wisdom from God to understand and acknowledge the limitation.
  4. Action Plan – This is the step in the process where a plan is enacted. Let’s call this an action or accountability plan. Depending upon the limitation, it may be appropriate to hire someone else to fulfill the leadership obligation. Remember, great leaders understand their limitations and then surround themselves with the appropriate talent.
  5. Results – We are interested in sustainable results over the long-run. Therefore, make sure that you touch base regularly with your Christian coach, accountability partner, or counselor. Keeping our eyes wide open is a vital part of the process.         

All Christian leaders have workplace limitations that need to be corrected. The question is, “What are you going to do about it?” It would be inadvisable to let our limitations and blind spots override and derail all other aspects of workplace leadership excellence that we bring to the organization. One should stay focused on continuous leadership improvement.  


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