These five lessons go out with the hope and prayer they will help others. (Flickr )

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 hope and prayer 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.

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1. I am sometimes 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 given up and thus failed to see His way to victory? How many times have I been a quitter instead of a leader?

3. I have made more mistakes by moving too slowly than moving too quickly. I knew I needed to make that personnel move. I knew it was best for the organization and, ultimately, the person involved. Wise counselors around me told me so as well. But I hesitated. I knew delay would not solve anything. To the contrary, it would only exacerbate the problem. So I led from a posture of fear instead of faith. The problem was ultimately so much worse than it needed to be.

4. I have followed others' dreams instead of my own. I've had a number of well-intended friends who "knew" what was best for my life. And though I really knew differently, I went their way instead of God's way. Every time, though I knew better, my decision ended up as a bad one. There's nothing wrong with seeking counsel. But it's totally wrong to go down a path not your own.

5. I have failed at humility. I really thought I was this great guy who had the answers. Sometimes I thought I was the smartest person in the room. Too often I have shown my rear end (figuratively, please) rather than my heart. I am not God's gift of leadership to the world. Unfortunately, I have sometimes acted as though I am.

Again, my purpose in this post is neither self-deprecation nor false humility. The purpose is to provide a clear and urgent warning for others lest they go down the forsaken path I should never have traveled.

Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

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