A Message To Broken Leaders

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”

– Psalm 147:3

A quick Google search netted 279 million hits. No, it wasn’t a search for the newest leadership success story or the latest self-help book that’s been released. This search was perhaps a little more ominous. The search category was simply “broken leaders”.

Broken leaders. It’s not the most pleasant of topics we like to hear and read about. We side-step it, and avoid discussing it, and squirm maybe just a little when the topic is addressed. I mean, after all, we have an image to uphold and a reputation to protect. Let’s be clear – leadership is hard. John Maxwell, a leadership mentor to many of us summed it up once by saying, “Sometimes leadership sucks”. It’s hard and it’s messy, and not for the faint of heart. Or is it?

The truth is, every leader I know–myself included, have come face to face with our own own brokenness.

As a leader, and in the solitude of this moment in which you are now reading, you might be acknowledging for the first time that you are a broken leader. You’re tired, you’re hurt, you’re discouraged. Behind the public smiles are private disappointments, battle scars, and the lost ambition to try another day. If that’s the case, please keep reading. The truth is, every leader I know–myself included, have come face to face with our own own brokenness. And it’s in these times that we must be brought back to simple truths that can put it all in perspective. So, to all the broken leaders reading this right now, please remember the following.

You are not alone

The struggles you face are the struggles we all face. On your leadership journey, you do not walk alone. The road to success is a journey of the broken- people who struggle and yet every day are trying to make a difference and add value. We strive together, we serve together, and we walk this road by sharing the load. Regardless of your circumstances today, you need to remember that you are not alone. The brokenness you feel and the burden you carry is shared by many.

You are stronger than you think

I can’t begin to count the number of times when I thought I could not go on as a leader because of a setback, a failure, or discouragement, etc. But by God’s grace, I can look back and see that in my times of brokenness that hope was not lost but rather it was found in One stronger than me. If you are feeling broken as a leader and you think that you can’t go any further, take a moment and look back at how far you’ve come. You are stronger than you think.

Your worth is not defined by your worst

Now might be a good time to cut yourself some slack. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the darkest moments in my leadership journey were not ones brought to bear by others – but by the man in the mirror.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that not every fear is fatal and not every mistake is final.

But the attitude we chose decides the outcome. Simply put – we’ve all blown it. We’ve made mistakes. We’ve experienced setbacks of our own creation. Your worth is not defined by your worst, forgive yourself and move on.

Your brokenness can be your blessing

Growing pains are not pleasant. And the feeling of brokenness you have right now as a leader may, in reality, be your growing pains. This season in your life – the brokenness and pain – is serving a greater purpose and is preparing you for your next level in leadership.

“Many of life’s failures, “ said Thomas Edison, “are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”. In your brokenness, you will be tempted to quit and abandon your dream. I’d like to challenge and inspire you today to not see your brokenness as the end of your leadership journey, but rather to see it as the blessing it has the potential to be in your life.

It’s out of your brokenness – your fears, your frustrations, your setbacks, and scars that you will be able to reach back and pull up the struggling leader behind you. Your brokenness may be God’s way of helping you let go of the pieces in your life that don’t belong.


Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson
DOUG has been speaking to audiences in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. Doug knows how to spin a story, make you laugh, and how to challenge your traditional ways of thinking about leadership. Most of all, Doug is committed to helping you grow as a leader. Doug is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. While his leadership expertise has its roots in ministry and teaching. His background also includes public relations and business. Doug understands the necessity of leadership development and why creating a leadership culture in your organization is critical to your success. He is the author of four leadership books including: Leaders Without Borders, 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, Great Leaders Wanted, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, and Leadership by the Numbers. As a speaker, Doug delivers practical and applicable leadership insights with a dose of humor and authenticity that endears him to a wide range of audiences. Doug is a John Maxwell Team member.

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