Be Fed, Then Feed

The Leadership Code is a book based on a leadership framework developed with consultation from renowned leaders around the world. The authors sought to discover the DNA of leadership by asking two basic questions:

  • What percentage of effective leadership is basically the same regardless of industry, role, culture, situation, etc.?
  • Of that amount (the percentage of leadership that is the same), is there a set of common rules that leaders must master?

They concluded that 60-70% of leadership is the same. In other words, 60-70% of what makes a great leader in one domain or situation is transferable to another. And within that percentage, they identified five traits: strategist, executioner, talent manager, human capital developer, and someone who is personally proficient, that is, someone who is healthy.

The authors articulate, and we know this intuitively, that someone can be excellent at strategy or people management or execution, but if the leader has an unhealthy character, the skills of the leader are overshadowed. The lack of character, the lack of personal health, prohibits great leadership.

This is especially true for those of us who lead and serve God’s people. Before we can effectively lead and feed others, we must be led and fed ourselves. Only as our hearts are overwhelmed with His grace and full of His joy will we be able to authentically and effectively help others know Him more. Charles Spurgeon wrote:

“How was Peter prepared for feeding Christ’s lambs? First, by being fed himself. The Lord gave him a breakfast before giving him a commission. You cannot feed lambs, or sheep either, unless you are fed yourself. I think a teacher is very unwise who does not come to hear the gospel preached and get a meal for his own soul. First be fed, and then feed…I commend to you the study of instructive books, but above all I commend the study of Christ. Let Him be your library. Get near to Jesus. An hour’s communion with Jesus is the best preparation for teaching either the young or the old.”

While the talk of “self-leadership” can be a helpful reminder to care for our own souls, we don’t feed and lead ourselves as much as we submit to Him and gladly embrace His feeding of us, His leading of us. For the people of God, that is personal proficiency.

First be fed and led by Him. Then feed and lead others.