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Don't Be That Kind of Leader

Over the years, I have served with some amazing leaders. Men and women of great faith who invested in me and encouraged me along the way. Most of what I know about ministry, I learned from them.

And then there were a few other leaders that I served with that...well, let's just say I learned from them how to not lead in ministry.

What are some warning signs you are reporting to a leader that is off kilter? And how can you prevent yourself from being that kind of leader?

Here are 10 kinds of leaders that you don't want to be.

Micromanager. Let me put it in plain English. This leader is a control freak. They have to be the final say in every decision. They are always correcting people. They are not a team player. A micromanager, rather than telling an employee what task needs to be accomplished and by when - will watch the employee's actions closely and provide frequent criticism of the employee's work and processes.

Employees who are micromanaged lose a sense of autonomy, which results in decreased motivation and desire to go the extra mile. Don't be that kind of leader.

Trying to lead by title instead of relationship. People don't follow a title...they follow someone they love and respect. Leading by title is the most ineffective way to lead. Leading by title is leading by fear. Leading by title is leading by position. Leading by title is leading by driving people.

Moses sets a great example of being a true leader. Think back with me to the crossing of the Red Sea. The Bible says that Moses LED the Israelites through the Red Sea. But Pharaoh DROVE his army into the Red Sea. See the difference? Don't be that kind of leader.

Making changes too quickly. Over the years, I have learned this. Most of your effective change should be the result of a planned process rather than a quick reaction. Especially when you are in a new ministry role. Take time to get to know the people you are leading. Then follow a pre-planned approach when you are making changes. In my book, Lead Well in Children's Ministry, I share 7 critical steps you need to make when implementing change.

Avoid coming in like a wrecking ball when you are trying to make changes. Don't be that kind of leader.

Using people to build the ministry. They see people as dispensable. And once they are done with the person they have been using, they part ways with them. Loyalty runs one way for them. Don't be that kind of leader. Instead of using people to build the ministry, use the ministry to build people.

They don't make time to get to know you on a personal level. They don't know the names of your kids. They don't know when your birthday is. They don't know what you like and don't like. When you meet with them, they don't ask how you are doing. They never take you out to eat for lunch. It's all strictly business. Don't be that kind of leader.

They accentuate the negative more than the positive. You could have the most incredible weekend in the history of the ministry, but when you meet with them, they point out the negatives more than the positives. They dish out criticism more than they do encouragement. Don't be that kind of leader.

Not open to feedback. They only allow feedback to run one way. From them to you. They get defensive if you question anything they are doing or suggest another way of doing it. This is grounded in pride and insecurity. Don't be that kind of leader.

They talk a whole lot more than they listen. They rarely ask questions. Instead, they dominate your conversations with the answers and opinions they have already formed. When they do stop talking, you can sense they are really not listening to you. Rather they are thinking about the next thing they are going to say. Don't be that kind of leader.

Ego instead of humility. They are not a servant leader. The way you gain favor in the organization is to help them enhance and enlarge their ego. It's all about them. They want to be in the spotlight. They want to be powerful instead of empowering others. Question their ego and you'll find yourself standing in the unemployment line. Don't be that kind of leader.

Lack of empathy. They don't care much about people. They only care about their "career" and will remove anyone standing in the way of their advancement. Hurt? Good luck with that. Sick? Good luck with that. Going through a tough season? Good luck with that. Need to unburden your heart to someone? Good luck with that. Don't be that kind of leader.

Poor communication. They like to keep people in the dark about things because it gives them a sense of power. They don't communicate during the week but expect people to still shine bright on Sunday. Don't be that kind of leader.

Lack of gratitude. They rarely say "thank you." Don't be that kind of leader.

They take all the credit, but then shift the blame on others when things don't go well. They like the spotlight. They like to be seen as powerful instead of empowering others. It's someone else's fault when things don't go as planned. They like to be the star of the show instead of creating stars. Don't be that kind of leader.

The truth of the matter is this - as I was writing out this list, I was reminded that at times I have been guilty of all of these. And if we are truthful, we would all probably say the same thing.

Thankfully, in-spite of our weaknesses and dysfunctions, Jesus is molding us into His image as a leader. He provides us with the opportunity to be forgiven and to learn how to be a servant leader for those He has called us to shepherd.

May we walk in His grace and continually work on these areas of leadership.

Be that kind of leader.


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