Every leader has potential, but not every leader reaches their potential. Let those words sink into your mind for just a minute. Look at them one more time. Every leader has potential, but not every leader reaches their potential. Right now, you can probably think of someone you know who has tremendous potential but for some reason hasn’t lived up to that potential. For some reason they have sold themselves short.
They have failed to reach their own expectations. We see this all the time in sports. A great athlete has all the talent in the world. All the coaches and pundits predict a meteoric rise to fame and stardom. They compare him to legends of the game and talk about how he could be the greatest of all time. But for some reason, that athlete never quite makes it. So much potential, so much promise, so few results.
Leaders are the same way. Some leaders have incredible talent, skill, vision, and instincts, but they only accomplish a small portion of what they could accomplish. The failure of leaders to reach their potential harms not only the leaders themselves but also the people they lead.
Think about a failed leader. Think about what they could have accomplished. Think of how their organization could have thrived under their leadership. Think of the people influenced by that leader who could have been inspired to follow in their steps, but now they are left with disappointment and disillusionment. When a leader fails, organizations fail, and people fail.
I have seen this personally. Early in my ministry, I saw capable, talented, charismatic leaders full of vision and skill wash out and leave a trail of confusion and pain behind them. No doubt you’ve seen it too.
This blog originally appeared at: When Leaders Fail to Reach Their Potential – discipleFIRST and features an excerpt from their latest book, The Disciple-Making Leader.