Quotes From Dan Allender’s Leading With a Limp

Quotes From Dan Allender’s Leading With a Limp

I recently read Dan Allender’s excellent book, Leading with a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness. The book is a call to think of leadership not with just strong visionary words but instead to examine humility, brokenness, courage, imperfection, complexity, and more. I found the book encouraging and it caused a lot of self reflection. I’ll be turning to this one again. Below are some choice quotes from the book:

If you love truth and bound to its proclamation, flee the cults of pretense and Christian artifice. Seek out a new context in which to lead. If you find a church or organization that is not bound to pretense but simply be ill equipped to admit what the Scriptures teach about our struggle with sin, you will be in a place honesty has the greatest potential to alter the culture of latent deceit…It takes humility to name our narcissism, and we’re too married to our image to come clean about how messed up we are. This focus on self strangles authentic confession…When we at last admit our flaws and failure, we gain a stronger personal center and greater peace…Our attempt to not feel off guard actually leads to greater self-absorption and the foolish conviction that we can control the world. True core strength is willing to to feel helpless and disturbed, and it results in a self-disciplined and passionate life rather than in a controlling life that fears what may surprisingly arise…The lie of narcissism is that we can control a world that is spinning out of orbit by narrowing the field of ambiguity in to a simplistic perspective. We choose this perspective-a path of rigidity and dogmatism that limits options and lets us deny complexity in the world…Only by letting go of dogmatism and embracing complexity can a leader open her mind to a greater capacity for creativity (5-6).”

A good leader will, in time, disappoint everyone. Leadership requires a willingness to not be liked, in fact, a willingness to be hated. But it is impossible to lead people who doubt you and hate you. So the constant tug is to make the decision that is the least offensive to the greatest number and then align yourself with those who have the most power to sustain your position and reputation in the organization (14).”

Leadership is not about problems and decisions; it is a profoundly relational enterprise that seeks to motivate people toward a vision that will require significant change and risk on everyone’s part. Decisions are simple the doors that leaders, as well as followers, walk through to get to the land to where redemption is found (14-15).”

We should expect anyone who remains in a formal leadership context to experience repeated bouts of flight, doubt, surrender, and return. Why would this be God’s plan? Why does God love the reluctant leader? Here is one reason: the reluctant leader is not easily seduced by power, pride, or ambition (18).”

The reluctant leader doesn’t merely give accolades to others. It is her true joy to see others awaken to their potential and exceed their greatest dreams. It is the hope of every good teacher to have students who take their work further than the teacher was able to do. To be surpassed is the ideal. To be replaced is the goal, not a sign of failure (22).”

Anyone who wrestles with an uncertain future on behalf of others—anyone who uses her gifts, talents, and skills to influence the direction of others for the greater good—is a leader. No one is a mere follower. If you are a follower of God, for instance, then you are called to lead. Every believer is called to help someone grow into maturity—and such is the core calling of a leader (25).”

God loves reluctant leaders and, even better, he loves reluctant leaders who know they are frightened, confused, and broken (53).”

Sane, reasonable, play-it-safe people are not sufficiently engaged in life to generate great stories. Instead, they sit back and wait for a leader-storyteller to come along and get them caught up in a life worth living (54).”

Paul calls leaders not merely to be humble and self-effacing but to be desperate and honest. It is not enough to be self-revealing, authentic, and transparent. Our calling goes far beyond that. We are called to be reluctant, limping, chief-sinner leaders, and even more, to be stories. The word that Paul uses is that a leader is to be an example,” but what that implies is more than a figure on a flannel board. He calls us to be a living portrayal of the very gospel we beseech others to believe. And that requires a leader to see himself as being equally prone to deceive as he is to tell the truth, to manipulate as he is to bless, to cower as he is to be bold. A leader is both a hero and a fool, a saint and a felon (56).”

True confidence is courage that has been humbled (74).”

A broken leader is a sweet paradox of confidence and openness. If those I lead have already found out the worst there is to know about me–that I am a sinner–then the login in my eye is continually being removed i the midst of every crisis. The result is better vision and great wisdom due to the freedom I feel to both live and die (75).”

All leaders are lonely, but few are lonely for good reasons. The phrase it is lonely at the top’ is true, but it doesn’t distinguish legitimate loneliness from self-inflicted isolation. There is a fine line between the two (111).”

Disillusionment takes us to the question: what does it profit a man if he gains this world and loses himself? And disillusionment exposes that while we were supposedly serving the kingdom, we somehow became the king, and when we thought we were following Jesus, we inexplicably made him a servant of our dreams. The only real tragedy is the leader who never allows disillusionment to wear him to a nub and expose the godlessness of his busyness (133).”

We live in a culture where the acknowledgment of wrong or the ownership of risk and failure is paramount to forfeiting the game (158).”

De-cide. Homo-cide. Sui-cide. Patri-cide. The root word decidere means to cut off.” All decisions cut us off, separate us from nearly infinite options as we select just one single path. And every decision we make earns us the favor of some and the disfavor of others (158).”

To admit we are foolish, weak, and in need of repentance gives the vindictive and self-righteous camp plenty of ammunition to turn against us and to turn others against our leadership. But the alternatives to living in and living out truth are far worse: we either hide from truth or we choose to spin our sin and our story (160).”

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December 14, 2021