10 Personality Traits That Are Holding You Back as a Leader
June 11, 2018
What would the volunteers in your ministry say if they were asked about your personality and leadership style? I'm sure they'd have some good things to say. And if we asked them to respond anonymously and to be brutally honest, I'm sure they'd again have good things to say, but they might feel more freedom to also mention some traits they think you could improve in. If that's the case, don't worry. All of us have weaknesses and blind spots in our personality that we need to improve.
But do realize this - your personality makes a difference in your leadership. That's why it's important to find out the weaknesses and blind spots. It will enable you to work on those traits and improve your personality, which will translate into you being a better leader.
Let's look at 10 personality traits that can hold people back from being a better leader.
#1 - The Me Monster. This trait can be found in leaders who make everything about them. You'll hear them use the word "I" a lot more than "we." They make decisions based on what's best for them, rather than what's best for the team. When he/she asks for ideas, everyone knows he/she will choose their own idea, even if it's not the best idea. This person shows very little concern for others on the team.
The Me Monster makes sure he/she gets all the credit for the wins, while shifting the blame on someone else when there's a mistake or failure.
They also do not focus on developing other team members because they don't want anyone taking the spotlight off of them.
#2. Non-apologizer. This is a leader who refuses to apologize when they make an error or mistreat someone. Even if they know they were in the wrong, they're not about to admit it. They don't want to appear "weak" so they don't say "I'm sorry." They are full of pride and have a huge ego. Admitting they were wrong, would threaten their self-esteem.
#3. Communication Shortfall. This leader likes to keep important knowledge to himself/herself. They feel it gives them the "upper hand" among the team members. When they do communicate, it's last minute and causes confusion on the team. Team members have to struggle to get the assignments done since they get them at the last minute.
#4. Gratitude Deficit. This leader expresses little to no gratitude. Even with volunteers, they hardly ever say "thank you." Team members are not celebrated. The team ends up feeling used and not valued.
#5. Not Here to Hear. This leader is always too busy to listen to those who are serving on the front lines of the ministry. He/she has their way of doing things and does not want to hear any ideas - even if it could make things more productive. They never ask for feedback or have debriefs after events and programs are over. When you do get this leader to slow down for a second to listen to you, he or she pretends to be listening, but you can see in his/her eyes that they are not engaged or really hearing what you are saying. They are closed-minded.
#6. Micromanager. This leader assigns work, but doesn't stop there. They not only tell team members what to do, but how to do it. Everything has to be done exactly the way this leader wants it or it's not good enough. They leave no room for creativity or flexiblity. It's their way or the highway. They are so busy doing everyone else's job, that they cannot do their own job well.
#7. Distruster. This leader creates a culture of distrust. Everyone has to watch their back and there is little to no collaboration. Fellow team members are looked at as foes rather than friends. People will do whatever is needed to climb the ladder a few steps...even if it means damaging someone elses' reputation. Any disagreement with the leader is seen as disloyalty. The worst is always assumed when a team member is struggling. There is no safe place where people can share about their struggles without judgement.
#8. No Funny Business. This leader is all business. There's no time for fun or team building. You never hear laughter in the hallways. There are few, if any smiles to be found. Birthdays are not celebrated. Anniversaries are not remembered. This leader expects everyone else on the team to have an unbalanced life like he/she does and work overtime all the time. They burn people out - toss them to the side - and look for the next person to use. When there is a win, there's no slowing down to celebrate it. It's on to the next big thing.
#9. Low Integrity. This leader stretches the truth when needed. They take shortcuts that shouldn't be taken. They say one thing and then do another. They gossip about team members. The team has lost respect for this leader because of it. There is no transparency.
#10. No Vision. This leader is satisfied with the status quo. He/she is afraid to take risks. Team members who want to make a real impact don't stick around. The future is dictated by the past, even if it's not working. Team members have no idea where the ship is going.
As you read through these, did anything jump out at you? I look at the list and see that I have made some of these mistakes as a leader. I want to continue growing and molding my personality into one that people will follow enthusiastically.
If you would like to improve your personality as a leader, there are three steps I want to encourage you to take.
First - personally work through these questions and identify any weak areas you see in your personality based on your answers.
1. Do I spend more time promoting myself than I do promoting others?
2. When I make a mistake or I am wrong about something, do I sincerely apologize to those involved?
3. Am I proactive in my communication to the team?
4. Am I intentional about expressing my appreciation to team members. Do I do this consistently?
5. Do I listen, really listen to team members when they are sharing their ideas and insight? Am I proactive in asking for feedback and ways to improve the ministry?
6. Do I have a tendency to micromanage? Do I give people the big idea and let them run with it?
7. Do I trust the team members? Do I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the best when something is in question?
8. Do I take time to celebrate the victories? Do team members have fun at work? Would they say it's a fun team to be part of?
9. Do I lead with integrity? Have I done or said anything that might cause the team to not trust me?
10. Do I have a clear vision for where God is leading us? Can the team members articulate the vision?
Secondly, ask your team members to answer the questions about your leadership. If you want to get a completely honest result, make it anonymous so people will feel more freedom to share their thoughts.
Look at the results and determine if there are any weaknesses and blind spots in your personality that you can work on.
Thirdly, I'd like to invite you to apply for the Advance Children's Ministry Coaching program. For 6 months, with our help, you'll have the opportunity to look deeper at your leadership, find your blind spots and work to strengthen those areas of your leadership.