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Wounded Leaders Wound Others

The negative effects of leading with unmet intimacy needs.

After working tirelessly to develop a conference, her unmet needs for affection and acceptance surfaced when some members of her leadership team challenged a few of her ideas at a pre-conference meeting. Jane blew up at the women, accusing them of sabotaging the conference and ruining all of her hard work. The women left deflated, unheard, and angry. Eventually, they stopped volunteering with the women’s ministry, finding other areas in the church to serve. In reality, these women had legitimate concerns and were trying to have an honest and open conversation with Jane. But because of her soul-wounds, Jane perceived their concerns as criticism, triggering her unmet intimacy needs, and she responded out of insecurity and fear.

Suppose Jane had worked through her unmet intimacy issues in counseling or with pastoral oversight. The meeting may have looked like this: the women present their concerns about some of Jane’s ideas for the conference. Jane, desiring to provide life-giving leadership to her team, listens intently to their concerns, validates the team by thanking them for their hard work, and acknowledges how hard it can be to bring concerns to a leader. The group has an open and honest dialogue about the conference, and everyone leaves feeling heard and appreciated. Each woman stays a part of the team and continues volunteering within the women’s ministry.

Heal Soul-Wounds

If you recognize yourself in this scenario and realize that a soul-wound is driving your need to lead and minister, then ask yourself this question: “Am I leading because I am being led by the Spirit, or am I leading because it fills a need to be loved and gain approval?” If your answer is yes to the latter, please understand it’s easy to read this in an article, but it’s hard to recognize in the moment. Soul-wounds can be healed, but it takes being honest with yourself, humility, and the willingness to change. The following are steps you can take to heal your soul-wounds:

Share with a mentor. Talk openly about your issues with your spiritual authority such as your pastor, an elder, or a spiritual mentor. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other… so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

Seek counseling. When you receive counseling from a trained professional, you don’t have to worry about that person sharing your issues. HIPPA laws protect your confidentiality. Make sure that the professional counselor approaches therapy from a Christian perspective.

June13, 2016 at 8:00 AM

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