Limpid Leader


The picture above is of one Limpid Lizard, one of the cast of a favorite comic strip of mine from many years ago. I post it from sheer nostalgia and was reminded of this alliterative character by a recent book on leadership.

A number of years ago my friend Bill Mills told me to trust no leader who does not limp. In his mind, of course, was the incident along the Jabbok where in wrestling with the Angel of God Jacob learned the meaning of grace, and carried with himself forever the reminder of his dependence upon God. He became a limping, and trustworthy, leader.

Coming highly recommended to me by a fellow pastor, I recently read Dan Allender’s similarly slanted book Leading with a Limp. Allender’s contention is that no one can authentically lead without being honest about his weaknesses and sins among those whom he leads. Leadership can, in some circles, be all about bluster and deception, about assumed strength and self-confidence, with the consequent fear that if one’s weaknesses became known, leadership capital would evaporate. Allender dismisses such illusions with an appeal for leaders to me more honest and transparent, believing that a certain authentic strength arises from such.

To articulate with any authority Allender’s counsel may take another reading. Or perhaps not. Perhaps my inability to articulate the prescriptive side of Allender’s thesis arises from the weakness of prescription in the book. He does not quite seem clear on what it is I am supposed to do with this knowledge. And yet, what he says in many ways rings true. It is good to be reminded with all that is expected of leaders that being someone they are not need not be one of them.

2 thoughts on “Limpid Leader

  1. Seth

    It reminds me of an ad campaign with an iconic tagline: “I’m not just the President of Hair Club for Men, I’m a client.” While this may sound corny and has been ridiculed world wide, I’m sure it rang true for many insecure men, who drew strength and dignity from one man’s honesty and vulnerability.

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