Leadership Battle Lines

Avoid These Three Pitfalls at all Costs!

Leadership is a battle.  Leaders fight battles every day.  The old adage is true, “You win some and you lose some.”  Sometimes in winning a battle we are actually losing in the end.  Here are Three Battle Lines that may make a leader feel like they are winning but they are actually losing.

Below are three Battles that leaders have chosen and will choose to take up.  Each of these may feel like a winning solution but in each case a leader will lose.  They may feel like they are winning but they are not.  Are you able to determine what a winning battle line is and a losing battle line?   To be sure it must not be based on feelings.  It is apparent that each of these battle lines exposes the level of insecurity that exists on the inside of the leader.

Insecurity is NEVER good in a leader.  An insecure leader rarely creates a strong community.  They instead create divisions through combativeness, complaining, and comfort.  Insecurity causes a leader to steer away from the mission at hand out of maintaining leadership.

The Team Exists for You (since you are the leader). 

This is so easy to actually believe.  The leader leads and expects and is even entitled to the status that comes with leadership.  Perks flow up.  Respect is demanded.  The rules don’t really apply to  you because of your position.  If you are really good at this the end will be loneliness.  NO ONE WANTS TO BE ON A TEAM WITH A LEADER WHO THINKS THIS WAY.

The result will be lack of morale and low ownership of the mission.  Churches are not exempt.  Many Pastors draw up this battle line quite often.  They say, “This is MY ministry, MY church!”  No wonder we are where we are with people sitting in a chair, listening nicely and then going home.  After all it is not their ministry.  They are not qualified.  They are not professional and smooth enough.

A Pastor can get away with this mindset and feel like they are winning but the church is losing.  This is not the heart of Biblical leadership (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

Leading Based on Getting Strokes from those you Lead.

Someone once said, “Never seek affirmation from the people you lead.”  It will erode you ability to lead unlike very few things can.  It goes like this, “I wonder if they liked my presentation? I wonder if they appreciate all of my sacrifices? I wonder if they will like the new rules we are setting up?”

Truth be known, a little self disclosure (I really struggle with this and have for many years).  I used to ask my wife if she thought my presentation was good enough.  It wasn’t out of the motive to get better but it was to get stroked.  It was for my EGO.  I still feel this sometimes, even after 25 years of speaking to all kinds of people.

I have reflected on this and have come to the conclusion that a leader should do their best and that is that.  Shut their briefcase and go home.  The results will come, God is good, and then the work of leadership also comes with all the needed changes as well.

Stroked based leadership is a myth.  I have, on occasions traveled to speak to a group that never met me.  I typically get more “strokes” on the road than at home.  If I expect strokes at home like on the road I am missing one important detail, “Those closest to you already know you.  They know all about you the good, the bad, and the ugly.”  One person said, “Those who know you more will always applaud you less than those who know you less.”  SO TRUE!

Keeping Strong People Away Because of Your Weakness

Business or church leaders do this all the time.  They hire people that show of their own strengths rather than the best for the organization.  Choosing this battle line will cause the organization to diminish.  A strong leader will always pick strong leaders and they will also be able to attract strong leaders.

If you think you are winning in this way ask yourself:

  • Can I invite someone to speak at my church that is better than me?
  • Can I hire someone that is better than me?
  • Will I let a volunteer pick the way they want to do something?
  • Do you think someone is disloyal if they don’t agree with you?
  • Do you see those who work for you as employees rather than teammates?

Lead Pastor 290 Community Church

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