Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

10 Ways to Fail as a Leader

Merrill Lynch CEO, John Thain (The picture is not John Thain!) was upset when he didn’t receive a year-end bonus for losing billions of dollars. His reason–yes, the company lost billions, but his leadership probably prevented even more hemorrhaging. HE thought the board should have awarded him a lucrative compensation package! Really? This is just one of many examples of leaders who fail to see their blind spots.

Whether you are leading a Bible study or the CEO of a company, think  about these 10 leadership traps you should avoid:


1) Believing the rules don’t apply to you. When you begin to believe your own press or think your lack of integrity won’t impact those you lead, think again. Leaders who lead by example do best.

2) You don’t delegate. No one likes to work for a micromanager, especially when this is based on the belief that you can only trust yourself to get things done. A micromanager burns out and is usually resented by his/her followers.

3) You define loyalty by having no vision, but your vision. This usually results in surrounding yourself with YES men and women. Dissension is not allowed and complaints mean possible rebellion. In religious settings, phrases like   “Don’t touch God’s anointed ” are used to squash any dissent.


4) You isolate. When leaders have few meaningful relationships, drop out of culture, or work 24-7, they are out of balance. Isolation leads to poor thinking and judgment.

5) You are success or power driven. Self-ambition replaces true servanthood and a desire to do something meaningful for God’s kingdom. It’s all about your accomplishments.

6) You dabble in things that can get you in trouble. Leaders who think they can handle addictions or don’t set boundaries with the opposite sex are asking for  trouble You are playing with fire.

7) You deny real issues and problems. Keeping your head in the sand results in a build-up of problems. Problems don’t go away just because you refuse to face them.


8) You have no real accountability. Leaders who don’t listen to their spouses or operate with a lone ranger mentality find themselves in trouble because there are no checks and balances. A lack of accountability makes it easy to not play by the rules, compromise and move off vision.

9) Your emotional health is negative. People who refuse treatment for depression, anxiety  or live with unresolved conflicts, don’t do well over the long haul. Problems escalate and emotional well-being falls to a dangerous low.

10) You hang on to offense or wounds of the past. The problem is that you can be triggered by even the smallest things because the wounding results in insecurity. Hanging on to unresolved anger and unforgiveness grows bitterness and resentment which can lead to explosive or distancing behavior. Let go of offense or you won’t be spiritually or emotionally well.

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