You Are an Incomplete Package

Let’s say you need to create or update your resume. You do online research and discover how to ensure that it will pop and get through the online algorithm to get a review. You noticed that some resumes utilize a tagline under the person’s name. If Thomas A. Edison were to create a resume today, he might put this as his tagline – The World’s Most Prolific Inventor. If I were to choose an honest tagline, it would look like this:

Glen A. Elliott
An Incomplete Package

That tagline would assure that my resume would never be considered. It’s a turn off to a potential employer. Or they might laugh thinking it’s a joke.

But it would be the truth. The fact is that I’m actually not a complete package. There are things I’m just not good at. There are things I don’t know how to do. And you are not the complete package either. While I don’t suggest that you put this on your resume, it is nonetheless a reality that every leader, employee, and human has to face. No husband or wife is the complete package. No parent is the complete package. And every leader or pastor must know this about himself or herself.

There’s tremendous pressure to deny this reality and we try to believe that we are the complete package. Or maybe we think, given enough time, we can become the complete package. Or we just feel the shame of not being enough. We want to have the knowledge, skills, experience, and wisdom to be able to tackle any problem, any challenge, and be able to lead as the complete package. It’s a myth! No one is the complete package.

The fact is we are all broken. You and I must do what we cannot do with what we don’t have for the rest of our life. Take a few minutes and reflect on that sentence. It’s very freeing! I know that God has called me to lead leaders, and I must lead as well as I can. But I have to lead knowing that I’m broken, incomplete, and limited.

How is that possible to lead knowing that we are not complete, that we are broken, and have weaknesses? What does that do to our leadership if we embrace that reality? How will others see us if we own that or they find out?

I think it all starts here – with humility. It’s the most important quality for any godly and effective leader. In humility, we are able to look honestly at ourselves and see that we can’t do it all well. Humility allows us not only to recognize this, but to publicly admit that we have weaknesses. Then, in humility, we empower and allow others to do what they do well that compliments our weaknesses. When we know we are not the smartest person in the room, that allows other smart people to contribute well.

I’m a leader. I lead best when I invite, empower, and collaborate with others who have knowledge, personality traits, and skill sets that I don’t have to accomplish what I could never do alone. Humility uses what resources and power I have to empower and celebrate what others have that I don’t. Humility knows that we are better together.

With good self-awareness, we identify our weaknesses. Some of those weaknesses are in our personality. The reason we have so many different personalities is that every person has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. I’m very strong at logic and being objective. I’m weaker when it comes to focusing on the power of feelings in certain contexts… and that’s a huge weakness. I’m great in a crisis, but not so good when I need to sit with someone who’s experiencing pain. So with that awareness in humility, I choose to surround myself with people who are strong where I’m weak.

Years ago I developed a teaching team at our church. We reviewed and gave feedback and input to each other’s messages. I intentionally invited people to be on that team that had strengths in areas of my weakness. I needed their perspective and help. Not only did I seek gender, generational, and racial diversity, but also different personalities with different skills, knowledge, and experience.

Because none of us is the complete package, we have to surround ourselves with folks who can and want to do things in a far better way than we can. Then we have to trust them and empower them to live out their giftedness to balance our weaknesses.

Leader, it’s okay to not be the complete package. Don’t beat yourself up over what you don’t have and don’t do well. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to another leader that does it better than you. Don’t be tempted to try to put too much effort into making your weakness a strength. Research and experience tell us that doesn’t work very well.

Just make sure you don’t let your weaknesses trip you up and hurt your organization. That’s why you bring others into the picture who can help fill in where you lack. That helps you and honors them. Surround yourself with people who can fill in the cracks in your leadership, abilities, and knowledge.

Remember, we must do what we cannot do with what we don’t have for the rest of our life. We just don’t have to do it alone. That’s why I want to be yoked to Jesus and walk with him (See Matthew 11:28-30). That’s why I want to walk with others.

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