Personal worth in many ways has become a worn out idea that mainly ends up being a part of middle school or high school conversations. And we seldom connect personal worth to effective leadership. But I’ve seen it over and over. I’ve heard the painfully true horror stories of leaders who frustrate almost everyone around them. Maybe you work for or have on your team someone who doesn’t perform well or surprises you with behaviors that just are not appropriate. Dig deep enough and I’ll bet you you’ve hit the issue of personal worth. Leaders with lots of charisma, knowledge, skill and experience can lead poorly and even hurt people and the organization if they don’t have a strong sense of personal worth.
Leaders who lack a healthy personal worth not only do bad things, they also diminish others, don’t listen, react in anger, or refuse to take responsibility for failures while being quick to take the credit for successes. Fact is, effective leaders must have a healthy personal worth.
All our lives we try to develop and even create our own personal worth. We do it by trial and error. We end up with a list of “rules” that fall into two categories. Larry Crabb (Effective Biblical Counseling –1977) rightfully observed that all worth is based on two main sets of things we believe about: what makes us secure and what makes us significant. I’m secure when…fill in the blank. I’m significant when…fill in the blank. Personal worth, or being “okay”, happens when we are both secure and significant. I strongly encourage you to take some time to reflect and honestly write out your list of each. I think you’ll be surprised at how long your list is. I was!
The problem is that most of our “rules” for security and significance are often attacked and easily violated, and seldom hold up over the long run. If I’m secure when people like me, well, you know where that is going. If I’m significant when people tell me of my accomplishments, I’ll always be waiting for the encouragement that may never come.
Let me cut to the point. No circumstance or person can provide me or you with consistent, guaranteed significance and security, hence personal worth (that was a huge statement to reflect on!). Only God can. Only God can give you personal worth. Only God can provide you with true security and true significance.
Look at Jesus. In Matthew 3:17 after he was baptized God said to Jesus – “You are loved. You are good.” (my paraphrase). The NIV says: “This is my Son, who I love; with him I am well pleased.” Did you notice that God gave Jesus the basis of his personal worth – he is loved (secure) and God is pleased with him (significance). It is God who gives us significance, security, and thus worth.
As a leader, it is essential that we develop our personal worth on the one source that is unshakeable. We WILL lead out of our personal worth, whether good or bad – guaranteed. If our personal worth is shaky, so will our reactions when it is hurt, damaged or diminished. But when our worth is based on God, we’ll not only weather the storms, but we’ll thrive as leaders.
I’ve prepared a 15 minute video on personal worth that is part of our Next Level leadership development training. Click here to watch if you’d like to go a bit deeper and feel free to share it.
One last thing. The Global Leadership Summit is coming August 9, 10. The cost is $109 through our partner 4Tucson. Click here for information. I’ve attended 13 years in a row and gained so much that has shaped my life and leadership. It’s the best leadership conference for the money!