Thursday, September 28, 2017

Being A Leader Can Be Painful

Romans 12:6-8 "According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts ... if leading, lead with diligence ..."

If you are a bold leader, you will eventually upset someone. Get used to it. Its part of being a leader.

Ok, so maybe that is a harsh way to start a post, but it's the truth. I've been in a leadership role in some capacity or another since I was 23 years old. Over the years, as I have matured, my leadership role has expanded. The Lord has opened up some wonderful opportunities for me and I've gotten to do some really cool things as a leader. But leading is rarely easy.

Some people wrongly think that leaders sit in an office enjoyed the "spoils" of their positions. Perhaps some leaders are like that. But good leaders are busy meeting people, thinking through strategy planning, finding resources to make things work, and removing barriers that keep the organizations they lead from moving forward. That often requires change, and change is hard. That requires bold decisions, and some people prefer bland choices. That requires some ideas to be promoted and some ideas to be set aside. All of that is going to eventually make someone upset. Leaders have to get used to it and grow think skin.

Getting used to the pain of leadership does not mean that leaders don't care about people. Good leaders care very deeply about those they are serving. But leaders often have access to information that most people don't have. Not all of that information can be shared with others. So it appears to those outside the knowledge loop that the leader ignored their concerns. While bad leaders might do this, good leaders don't ignore knowledge. But they do have to weigh different pieces of knowledge and make the best choice available to them.

Effective leaders (at least in the context in which I serve) also have a supernatural gift of leadership that comes from the Spirit. That enables them to see things from a perspective that is broader than the average person. While this gift can definitely be abused, and that always ends in disaster, when used properly, in balance with others in the body who have other gifts, a leader with a gift of leadership can take a ministry organization to new levels of kingdom impact.

The bottom line is, not everyone will like the choices leaders make. Good leaders accept that. They do their best to include others in the process. They do their best to show compassion for those with different opinions. They do their best to listen to the Spirit so they do not outrun God. But in the end, leaders lead. It's what they do. And sometimes its painful.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:


  1. Very well written, Dr. T.

  2. Excellent Terry!

  3. Over my life I have served in several leadership rolls, up to being in charge of an entire maximum security correctional facility. Yet far and away the most difficult leadership position is that of pastor. At the same time it offers up the most rewards and most frustrations. It did not take me long to realize that most of what would be considered good military or para military leadership skills are not transferable to the pastorate. There are some exceptions, but it only applies to churches that are located in large military communities.

  4. Really good stuff here, needed to hear that today...thanks Terry!