Let’s do some catalytic visioneering… and stuff!


I have to be honest: I really, really miss the days when leaders were cool with just being called managers or leaders. You know, when people weren’t adding qualifiers to boost their self-importance self-esteem?

Today, instead of being managers, we’re leaders. But not just leaders, catalytic leaders. Visionary leaders with fireworks shooting out our rear-ends with every decision we make. (And not just because of the Taco Bell we ate at lunch.)

We get it, okay? You’re a big deal. You’ve got people skills, dag-nabbit!

But could you maybe shut up about it?

There’s a problem in leadership circles when you have to declare yourself a catalytic, visionary such-and-such with mad woo skills (which is just as creepy as it sounds). The problem is simple: you’re clearly not one.

Your vision is seen in what you’ve accomplished, not by what you say you’re doing.

Your ability to move people to action is less important than what action you’re calling them to.

Your charisma is less important than your character.

Who are we trying to kid, honestly? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it’s ourselves.

We want to be seen as important. We want to be seen as big deals. We have a brand to uphold and promote, after all. We want to matter… because, well, we are deeply insecure. We are unsure of our ability to lead faithfully, so we mask it in bravado. We are insecure in our relationship with Christ, so we look to our performance for comfort.

But it’s a little bit like a foodie blog operated by someone who only knows how to make Kraft Dinner. The disconnect is often obvious to everyone but us.

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth,” says Proverbs 27:2, “a stranger, and not your own lips.” There’s a reason the Lord inspired these wise words. When we praise ourselves, we reveal our insecurity.

But, brothers (and sisters, too!), we do not need to be insecure. The fruits of our labors will be apparent to all in time, if they are not already. And in time, if the fruit is good, the lips of another will praise our efforts. So we don’t need to!

Leader, let another praise you. Worry less about calling yourself a catalyst or a visionary. Vision and charisma is fleeting, and your security is not in those things anyway.

Photo credit: Pulpolux !!! via photopin cc

Get new content delivered to your inbox!

  • http://www.thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    I’m glad I’m not visionary. That fireworks thing sounds really painful.

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    Big “Woo Skills” Really? Now I have something else I need to add to my LinkedIn profile. To keep it easy, just call me, “The Big Woo.”

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      Yep, “woo” is apparently a thing, at least in the Strengthsfinders assessments.

    • Dan

      WOO= Wining others other.

  • Michelle Dacus Lesley

    This is all kinds of good, Aaron. Gotta say, I am weary of all the “leadership” talk and emphasis coming out of evangelicalism today. I’d like to hear that kind of emphasis on humility, dying to self, and servanthood, you know, kinda like Jesus did? I don’t really recall Him giving lots of leadership seminars.

  • Amber

    Now what in the world could have motivated this particular post on this particular day?…

    Though in the inspiration’s defense, do they really say it of themselves? I have not ever heard self praise (in this particular venue) , though plenty of teaching on wooing and what not.

    But listening to a particular group’s inspeak can sound rather self important and silly. People would (and do) say the same about writers’ inspeak, but it is still valuable to writers to have discourse about their craft.

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      Believe it or not, the Leadership Summit didn’t inspire this post—it was motivated by seeing far too many church and ministry leaders actually refer to themselves as “visionary leaders” in their bios and on their blogs.

      • Amber

        Ok, I withdraw my comment then. That is kind of icky. Forgive my contention.

        • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

          To be fair, it was valid contention in general. :)

  • Otter2

    You would think that a particular visionary leader would have seen his actions would get his big national conference cancelled. Or am I confusing the visionary thing with Miss Cleo?