8 Leadership Sins To Avoid… And How To Find Your Way Forward by Steve Sjogren
All leaders go through mental and emotional gyrations that can cause mental messiness. Some of these sins are greater than others. Some are easier to recover from than others. The beginning of walking in freedom is to recognize you really are stuck. Once you see the problems you can more easily walk away from your challenge.
Not mentoring others
We need to perpetually work a plan for developing others. The easy plan is to hire others, especially as your church grows. Like many things in life, the easy way out is to throw money at problems, but the right thing, the biblical thing, is usually to take the slow route forward that requires personal attention and patience.
Falling into over cautiousness
As a leader you will regret the risks you didn’t act on. Today I read an anonymous posting by a Boomer-aged mother who reflected on her life as a mother now that her kids are in their twenties and off on their own. As she shared her regrets time and time again she wrote that she wished she’d taken more risks financially, been less fearful of not having enough finances, all of which drove her to spend far too much time away from the home and far too little time with her kids as they grew up. Now that it’s too late she realizes that though they were financially cared for she failed to adequately risk had she been more courageous.
Giving up on humility
When you’re young it’s somewhat natural to walk with a humble, teachable heart. You don’t know much and you will more gladly admit that fact. You’ll take all the help you can get from older, more experienced people, in fact, you practically beg for help.
It’s easy to begin to live by the adage – “Experts don’t need advice – they give advice.” No matter where you stand in your expertise you will never outgrow your need to walk in humility.
Not having a mentor
No matter your age or level of experience, it’s imperative that you have a mentor. You will never come close to achieving what you’ve been called to apart from a mentor.
Make a decision to humble yourself and seek out a mentor. Find one that is suited for you. I met revered business guru Peter Drucker a year or so before he passed away in the late 1990s. He was with a couple of guys who hung out with him a good part of the each month, but surprisingly, it seemed obvious he was learning from them as well. With Peter Drucker the relationship went both ways – he toward them and them toward him though the younger guys were many decades younger than Mr. Drucker.
What will your mentors look like as you get into your 90s?
Not having enough fun time
Leaders are often too intense for both their own good and for the sake of those around them. It’s easy to move from having a love for people to becoming obsessive about ministry. Some are successful partially because they are driven. They are rewarded for their great drive. Their churches or works in ministry tend to prosper, but unfortunately what causes them to grow is destructive to them personally and to their families.
Fight against this tendency by working at having fun each week.
Dance a little.
Walk barefoot in the grass.
Ride a bike.
Watch the sorts of movies that relax you.
Take a walk at the mall with your spouse with a big cup of something hot just to enjoy the puttering of it.
Read the kinds of books that help you take a mental vacation – not something on leadership or ministry!
Not accurately reading leaders
Being overly impressed with “leaders” those who aren’t really spiritual leaders but merely possess the outward trappings of success. This is a common mistake made by top-shelf church leaders as they build increasingly larger churches. A CEO, or COO or C-Whatever may look good on paper, but I’ve seen time and again that people who fit that category don’t necessarily walk in the Spirit. They can easily make decisions based on outward, business-like, “worldly wisdom” as Paul wrote. Sadly because these folks are often poorly taught the Scriptures their decisions are not necessarily well girded in biblical principles.
Not trusting your team enough
No matter how much you may have been hurt by others in the past, your level of success is tied to your ability to team with others. You personal skills and gifting will take you only so far. You will top out sooner than later. The so-called Peter Principle will kick in – the position of getting into a role that is beyond your ability to adequately perform, then being so stuck in fear of being honest enough to admit your failure you stay stuck indefinitely. The way out of that scenario is to build a great team.
Trusting some too much
Between these two sins, I’m not sure which side of the boat is the riskier one to go overboard with. I’ve committed both errors and lived to regret them greatly.
When you trust some too much you will end up removing at least a measure of your trust in God. There is only so much weight of trust in your heart to go around.
When you “overtrust” people, it will be difficult to adequately put your trust in God.