A couple years ago someone pointed out to me that a survey of the top 100 leaders in the Bible showed that only one-third of them finished well. The other two-thirds finished poorly. When I look around me, I think I see just a little better stats than that but I’ve seen a lot of prominent leaders in business, politics and ministry, leave a mess in their wake. It happens way too often.
A ministry leader I respect, Ed Stetzer, recently wrote a blog on the “Five Reasons Leaders Finish Poorly.” The blog was focused on older ministry and movement leaders who are nearing the end of their public leadership. His reasons included not trusting younger leaders, fighting over unimportant things, identities too connected to productivities, getting angrier as they grow older and not letting go of the baton to younger leaders. I’ve noticed commonalities as I reflect on the leaders I’ve seen crash and burn.
But this post is about only one sobering leadership principle that we must grasp if we want to avoid finishing poorly. It has to do with your public life and your private life. They are inseparable. You can try to manage two identities. It won’t work. It might for a time, but not for long. You’ll be discovered. Your personal junk will impact your professional world—eventually. This is the one most common reason that leaders finish poorly.
Here’s my suggestion: It’s better to protect your public life by improving your private life. And, it’s better to do it now rather than later.
QUESTION: What additional reasons do you see as to why leaders finish poorly? Thank you for noting them in the Comment section.