Your greatest asset as a leader is love. Without it, your work however skillful, wise, and insightful it is will languish and remain somewhat ineffective. With love, your skill, wisdom, and insights will flourish and influence will amplify.
Your ability to freely give and receive love as a leader may be a soft skill, but it is vital to your work. The Apostle Paul reminds us:
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 1:1-3
If Paul were to write to 21st century pastors, he might write something like this,
If I can preach God’s Word faithfully and with persuasion, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. If I have taken Gallup’s Strength’s Finder and understand my top five leadership strengths, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I work 60-70 hours per week, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
A friend of mine Matt told a preaching class he was teaching, “The people who listen to you preach are asking themselves deep within themselves, “Yes, pastor, but do you love me?”
It can be difficult to love freely and unconditionally, especially if we’ve been hurt by people inside and outside the church. Some people can be downright mean and can wound us. Brendon Burchard writes,
We were born a vessel flowing with authentic and abundant love. Then things changed. We weren’t cared for the way we might have been. We didn’t get the attention we craved. Someone pointed at us, judged us, ridiculed us, rejected us. Callous words and selfish acts left us sad and scared. We were burned, crushed, embarrassed, shamed, or smothered by cruel intentions and warped forms of selfish love. And so we began the long, steady, hard work of closing off our hearts… ~The Motivation Manifesto
As leaders we need to work on keeping our hearts open, to the long, steady, hard work of forgiveness, reconciliation, and unconditional love. Do so and watch your impact grow.