My heart is for leaders. I have been in leadership roles for over three decades now. I’ve led large and small teams. Through my ministry I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders. A mentor of mine always reminds me the success of whatever is being led always reflects back to leadership.

I guess this is why I continue to share what I believer are simple principles – but often a simple idea is powerful in practice. And, it’s easier for me to think logically in lists.

Do you want to be successful as a leader? Of course, anyone who leads has this as a goal. There are some actions which can limit you.

Here are 7 issues which limit your success as a leader:

Trying to plan every detail – Ecclesiastes says you won’t plant if you watch the wind. Risk is always necessary for meaningful success. Is there something you feel certain you need to do – or there is a passion on your heart – but, for whatever reason you’ve not taken the risk? Leadership by definition involves guiding people into an unknown.

Lack of flexibility – Things change. People change. Times change. Have a great worthy, God-honoring vision – make sure it’s grounded in truth and don’t steer from it – but realize the road to accomplish it may change many times along the way. And, changing the method – admitting the way you always led things – to be more successful is not a bad reflection on leadership. In fact, it’s a characteristic of good leadership. What changes do you currently need to encourage?

Shunning or controlling other people – You can’t do it alone. You don’t have the corner on ideas. You need help. One of the default actions of leaders is to isolate themselves and/or to control the actions of others. Many times this is out of fear, lack of trust, or sometimes even pride. But, leadership involves knowing people. It involves utilizing the knowledge, skills and talents of others – actually people better equipped to do some things than you are. Who on your team is just waiting for you to get to know them, believe in them and let them go?

Holding on to a grudge or attempting to get even – There’s no time for it. The wasted energy of an unforgiving spirit slows you down from meaningful achievement. When people feel you are placing them in the proverbial corner because of something they did or didn’t do they become defensive, bitter, or checkout from trying again. Does this sound like a healthy plan for a team? I’ve learned over the years – leaders should be willing to go first in extending grace if they want to have a healthy team atmosphere.

Worrying more than trusting by faith – Leadership is full of unknowns. There will rarely be a major decision where you are a hundred percent certain it’s the right decision. When God appears silent, as to the next course of action, you have to go with your experience, your gut, and the wisdom of others. Faith goes without seeing. Take your pick between worry or faith – but you can’t pick both. In my journey it seems many times God has given me freedom to move and it’s my own fear which keeps me from going forward. Peace often comes through obedience.

Being stingy with your time, money or influence – The more you try to control what you hold in your hand – the stingier your heart becomes. Stingy hearts are burdened by unnecessary distractions. (The one who loved money is never satisfied with his wealth. Ecclesiastes 5:10) Why is this in a leadership post? Because leadership at it’s heart should be improving the lives of others – not just the leader’s life. The real success in leadership will ultimately be measured by how you blessed others with how you led.

Having to do things “your way” – You got into the leadership position – most likely – because you knew how to do some things. But, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to depend on the input of others. When you limit the input of others you rob the team of expanded imagination and you discourage potential leaders from rising. Success flourishes in collaboration.

Are one of these keeping you from accomplishing all you could?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • the shiny penny syndrome is a problem for me, i need to concentrate on what i am currently involved in, great post

  • Bryan Ruffin

    We spend too much time looking at the successes and forget to move forward.

  • Certain issues that could distract us from success as a leader:

    ~ Stifling diversity at the cost of innovation
    ~ Failing to demonstrate integrity
    ~ Withholding information
    ~ Playing favorites
    ~ Always passing the buck

  • kmac4him

    I would add: Telling God what to do, directing HIM to follow me, in what I have chosen to do and in the way I feel comfortable doing it. Running off with my bright idea and presuming that God’s favor and power will follow me and catch up to where I am striving! Bad idea!!! Failure impending! Dead end ahead!! Because I always ended up having to do a U-Turn! Go ALL the way back to the crossroad where my dependence crossed over the pathway of His Obedience and start over again, this time running my race in followship of HIM and when I look back in the “heavenly hindsight” of my rear view mirror, I can see I get there faster and more successfully when I go HIS Way!

    Oh and trying to plan every detail… let’s not go there… still working on that… have not been able totally stop that stealer because I don’t like change, I wrestle with it… funny isn’t it… because the heart of the Gospel is CHANGE! OUCH!

  • Dana Byers says:

    Great post, Ron! I'm personally working on being more flexible right now. Sometimes I do well, sometimes not. I find it amazing that we could all highlight a few areas on this list we need to work a lot on, yet the best way I improve is by getting honest feedback from my team and family. How have you seen improvement in any of these areas?

    • ronedmondson says:

      They are all a work in progress for me too, but I've seen incredible progress on all the teams I've led as I empower other people and am willing to let go of my right to control.

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