Tuesday, August 18, 2009

7 Common "Ego Traps" for Leaders: Trap #4

Ego Trap #4: "Without me, God is screwed."

Of course, if you're a leader, you wouldn't say it that way. This ego trap shows up a little more subtly, perhaps with thoughts like,

  • "Without me, the whole thing will fall apart,"
  • "It's all up to me," or
  • "If it weren't for me, nothing would get done around here."

This trap actually comes in two flavors. On the surface they seem a bit like opposites. But they are both rooted in the same egocentric idea--that you are the all-important answer to God's big problem.

Flavor one is what I call the Martyr, which is typically expressed as some variation of "it's all up to me." The martyrs think the people around them are either unwilling or unable to take on true authority and responsibility, and are themselves generally unwilling to let go of the same. They feel it's all on them to build the ship and make it sail, and that they alone can do it. They typically don't let others lead (though they may think they are), and then resent it when others don't step up and take charge.

Flavor two is the Chosen One, which, in effect, looks much like the Martyr only with more bluster and bravado. This version of the trap shows up the belief that you are the "the one," the golden child, the indispensable element, and that your team is darn lucky to have you around. If they really knew what was good for them, they would sit quietly at your feet and drink from the great fount of your superior skill and wisdom.

I hate to break it to you, but God can probably handle the world just fine without you.
That's not to say that we're not important, or that we don't each have something glorious and special to offer the team, but at the end of the day you are neither the savior of the world nor the one it must sacrifice in order to survive. You are just one player in the very large Story that God is telling. Your job is simply, beautifully, to play your part, and to allow others to play theirs as well.

Think of a mom asking her daughter to bake cookies with her. Think of a dad inviting his son to build a swingset with him in the backyard. God doesn't invite you into some great work in the world because he's desperately low on your particular brand of brilliance and skill. He invites you in for your benefit (not his), and for the joy of doing it with you--whatever "it" is.

1 comment:

Michelle Brown said...

Wow, Michael. And OUCH!! 'Nuff said.