Humility in Leaders, Part 2: Handling Success

This article series contains excerpts from The Perfect Leader: Practicing the Leadership Traits of God by Ken Boa. To read more on humility and other attributes and skills of leadership, purchase the e-book in our online store here.

It’s one thing to be humble when things aren’t going well.

It’s another to stay humble in the face of success and increasing recognition.

Many leaders enjoy being in charge, making decisions that affect the organization, delegating implementation of those decisions to others, “running the show,” having others defer to them in meetings, and the like.

As one gets ahead, it’s hard not to get a big head!

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Learning from Solomon

As a leader, King Solomon enjoyed all these perks and much more. Like few leaders before or since, he had wealth, power, fame, wisdom, and plenty of servants. Other rulers traveled long distances to listen to his wisdom, and other entrepreneurs came to marvel at his wealth. Yet from this lofty position Solomon cautioned:

It is not good … nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor. (Proverbs 25:27).

Doing so, he warned, is like eating too much honey. Sweet as it is, and healthy as it is in proper amounts, too much of this good thing will make us sick—and sick of it.

Honor accompanies a job well done. If a leader is effective, he or she will get all the honor he or she can stand. But those who have to go looking for honor have their hand in the wrong hive.

Those who have to go looking for honor have their hand in the wrong hive.
—Ken Boa

Solomon learned that focusing on a job well done is the way to earn honor. Focusing on honor, on the other hand, cuts into the time and energy needed to do the job well.

Application for Today

Whether you’re a leader of a home, a classroom, a business, or something else, I encourage you to ponder these verses:

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)

It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory. (Proverbs 25:27 NASB)

If these attitudes feel challenging or even foreign to you, don’t despair. The Lord is ready and willing to help you develop a humble heart, a heart that seeks Him and His praise above the honor and recognition of people.

Each morning, try writing one of the verses above on a card that you set by your bed; read it before you start your day, making a conscious effort to acknowledge Him as the source of all that you have and are.


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Series Navigation<< Humility in Leaders, Part 1: The Elusive Virtue