Leaders Don’t Boast
Children are master braggarts. A little of the thumbs in the ears and wiggling of the fingers and a tiny shake of the booty and a melodious “nanny-nanny-boo-boo!” Yes. Bragging masters.
As adults, we’ve more finely tuned our boasting. We’ve traded in those wiggly fingers for well-timed social media posts, and refined the little song and dance to a simple #humblebrag. Maybe we are even better master braggarts than when we were younger.
All of us, every leader, no matter how great, will be tempted to be boastful. Every. Single. One.
Joseph, with his fabulous coat and his dreams of ruling over his family, was no different. Genesis 37:8 in the NLT says his brothers “hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.” It wasn’t just the runway-worthy jacket or those vivid dreams of his, it was the way Joseph talked about them that really got on his brothers’ last nerves. Maybe he did throw in a little “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” after all.
The way in which we talk matters too. There is often the thinnest of very thin lines between celebrating and boasting. How can we, as leaders, keep ourselves from boasting?
First, do a heart check. Ask yourself: Why am I sharing this?
Sometimes we need to take a moment and get gut-level honest with ourselves about our motives before we speak, share or hit send. Am I posting for encouragement? Do I share for celebration? Am I seeking to make myself look better?
Second, do a filter check. Ask yourself: Is there a better way to be sharing this?
Even with the right motivations, we can still miss the delivery. I should take a second look at that photo before it invades Instagram. Reread that comment before it is shot out through my text messages. And think twice about that story before my lips get ahead of my brain.
People don’t want to follow a boastful leader. In fact, just like Joseph’s brothers, that bragging may lead to nothing but the building up of resentment in their hearts. Let’s be leaders willing to consistently check our hearts and filters to ensure that we don’t boast.
By Lori Wilhite