The Hardest Person to Lead – Brian Baker

mjgoodrow Podcast

All leaders experience people who are difficult to lead. On this episode of the podcast, Brian talks about the hardest person you will ever lead. Here’s the problem, you have to look at this person in the mirror every day. If you don’t lead yourself well, you will have a hard time leading others. Brian looks at six characteristics of self-leadership.

The Hardest Person to Lead


  • “The practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and behaviors to achieve your objectives.” – Kathy Ferguson Litton
  • “Self-leadership says I want to steward and maximize my leadership impact.” – Kathy Ferguson Litton
  • “There is a direct correlation between our self-leadership and our public leadership.” – Samuel Rima
  • “The smallest crowd you will ever lead is you but it’s the most important one.” – John Maxwell

6 Things Leaders Who Lead Themselves Do Well: (compilation from Litton and Maxwell)

  1. Self-leaders are Followers First – If you do not know how to follow, you will never learn how to lead. You must first be a follower who obeys with a good attitude. Following does not mean you check your brain at the door, but it does mean you check your attitude.
  2. Self-leaders Never Stop Learning (Prov. 1:5) – This includes first and foremost learning the Word of God. Also learn from both current and past leaders. Soak in as much as you can to grow.
  3. Self-leaders Grow in Self-discipline (Prov. 25:28) – We are vulnerable to make serious and costly mistakes if we are not growing in self-discipline. Do you waste time on meaningless things? Do you say no to the things that keep you from doing what you know you should be doing? Learn to say no to good things so you can say yes to the best things. We will never be perfect in self-discipline, but we should always be growing. Constantly evaluate if you are being and doing what God wants. Do what you know you should no matter how you feel about it.
  4. Self-Leaders Accept Responsibility (Prov. 28:13) – Own up to your actions and the consequences that come with them, even if it was not you who made the mistake. If it ultimately falls under your area of leadership, take ownership. Craig Groeschel said, If you have been in your place of leadership for more than 3 years, you can no longer say, “my people won’t…” you must say, “I have not lead my people to…”
  5. Self-leaders Seek Input, Counsel and Accountability (Prov. 11:14) – Leaders know they cannot trust themselves (John Maxwell). Great leaders want others to speak into their lives. The more appropriately vulnerable you are, the more people respect you. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard and operate in a community and team.
  6. Self-leaders Submit to the Spirit of God in their Lives – The only way you can lead people well is if you are spirit-filled yourself. Surrender control of your life to the Lord. We cannot operate in our own strength. Paul’s command to be filled with the Spirit is not a suggestion. (Eph. 5) A literal translation is “be being kept filled,” which means constantly being connected to the source.

Wrap – Up:

Leading ourselves does not get any easier, but the areas we will need to grow in will be different.

Leadership opportunity: Student Leadership University Youth Pastor Summit at Word of Life – learn more and register at