One of the risks of Christian leadership is that others often put them on  a pedestal, looking up to that leader as if they were from another species, seeing only the good stuff and none of the bad stuff. It really is a bad place to be for any number of reasons, least of which is that when the pedestal breaks it is painful for both the leaders and those who put them there. 

I also know leaders who love to be on the pedestal. They like the adulation, the otherness and the position it gives them. And, it insulates them from much of the scrutiny because the more removed they are the less others are able to challenge them. You don't say honest or hard things to unapproachable people - like leaders who foster a certain elevation from others. 

My advice to those who work for leaders who like the pedestal is that one does not treat them with deference, but like everyone else.  They may not like it but allowing them to be treated as special only feeds the unhealthy side of their leadership. I resolved long ago that I would always be respectful but never feed the egos of unhealthy leaders.

For the rest of us who may be put on pedestals by others, I have four suggestions. First, be candid about those things you can be candid about. We have the same struggles as everyone else. Being honest about those struggles helps others understand we are not different.

Second, be approachable. The more approachable we are the more human we will be while the more unapproachable we are the more "otherness" we foster. Let people get to know you as much as possible.

Third, be real. Pretense is dishonesty while just being real about who we are is honesty. The more transparent we are, the more human we are and the less others will elevate us.

Fourth, be humble. Humility is self effacing while pride elevates self. 

I have a good friend about whom people say, "He is without guile." I love that description. It is who I want to be. As such, I will not cooperate with anyone who wants to live on a pedestal or put me on one (God forbid).
  • May 06, 2012
  • Category: News
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