7 Of My Biggest Frustrations as a Leader

Spmeone once asked me what my “biggest frustration” is as a leader. As I thought about it, I had to be honest – I have lots. That may point to another area of struggle for me personally – and a character flaw – I’m seldom satisfied with me or where we are as a team. In many ways, I am still learning the secret of being content, but I like continual improvement and think there is usually room to get better in all areas of our life. I think it is true in leadership too.

But, the question was my “biggest frustration”, so I opened an Evernote file, titled it “Biggest Frustrations” (since I knew I had more than one) and decided to record some of my actual frustrations over the next few weeks, as they actually occurred. Some of these are mine from observing people directly and some are from the stories my readers share with me each day. When I reached seven, based on my obvious past love of the number seven, I figured it was time to share my findings.

Here are 7 of my biggest frustrations as a leader:


It bothers me in leadership to argue about things which really, in the large scheme of things, just don’t matter. Arguing about things like personal preferences or different ways of acccomplishing the same agreed upon vision only takes time from getting actual work done. I can almost always find issues of bigger significance. 


I get frustrated when people have to have things “their way”. It destroys any hope of a healthy team when people are only thinking of their personal wishes. (Doesn’t sound very Biblical to me either.)


The way you talk to someone always determines the way they respond. To me, there is no place for disrespect in an organization or on a team or in any relationship, for that matter. This should be especially true in churches. And, it applies to how we respond to the world on social media also. Even when we don’t agree with one another, we can address one another in kindness. (Remember, kindness is a fruit of the spirit.)


When someone can’t think beyond the way it’s always been done, it limits the organization from achieving all it could achieve. There are issues – Biblical, foundational, value-driven issues – where narrow-mindedness is a positive. But, in the mode of operation of the way we get things done, or how we accomplish our God-given vision, I think change is not only good – it’s vital for continued growth.


Equally frustrating is when people are unwilling to embrace change – simply because they are being stubborn. It wasn’t their idea, or it threatens their power, or they just don’t want to be uncomfortable – so they lock their arms and refuse to participate. When a person ignores what’s best for the good of everyone, and it’s not a Biblical issue, their stubbornness only hurts the organization (and frustrates the leader.)


When someone has been injured they have a choice. They can choose to hold a grudge or they can choose to forgive. Holding a grudge keeps the injury alive. Forgiving opens the door for healing. (Doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me.)


It is frustrating to observe people who seemingly have no regard for other people. They make decisions without the consideration of others. They say things without thinking how they hurt. They use their influence to disrupt an organization’s progress – rather than enhance it. They derail progress with a disregard for what’s best in favor of what’s personal to them. It’s frustrating.

There is my list. I feel better just sharing it with  you. I can now get on with my day towards more positive things. But, if I kept the Evernote file open, I might find some more, so I’ll close it for now. 

What are your biggest frustrations in leadership?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 26 Comments

  • Travis says:

    Not sure where this fits but one year for pastor appreciation month, we set out multiple baskets for each pastor on staff so that members could put gifts in. The problem was, each pastor could see what the other was getting. Our worship pastor at the time, thought the other pastors had received a $50 gift card from one family, and he didn't. He proceeded to contact the family to ask if maybe his got lost. I was so embarrassed by the whole situation. Turns out someone from the cleaning team had taken it out for safe keeping.

    Needless to say, we no longer set out multiple baskets, and have pretty much done away with pastor appreciation all together.

  • A. Amos Love says:

    Hmmm? My "biggest frustration" as a leader?

    When I searched the scriptures…
    For the Qualifications of an “elder/leader.”
    And realized I did NOT meet the Qualifications…
    And as hard as I tried, I still did NOT meet the Qualifcations. Now what? 🙁

    Here are three qualifications for pastor/elder, from Titus…
    That most who call themselves “pastor/elder” tend to “Ignore,” or “Twist.”
    1 – For a bishop (overseer) “Must Be” *Blameless.* 2 – Just. 3 – Holy.

    Titus 1:5-8 KJV
    5 …ordain elders in every city…
    6 If any be *blameless,* the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop “must be” *blameless,* as the steward of God; not self willed,
    not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

    1 – *Must Be*
    Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
    This *must be* is the same Greek word. – You *must be* born again. Jn 3:7
    Seems *must be* is a small word but very important. Yes?

    1 – Blameless
    Strongs #410 anegkletos – unaccused, irreproachable, blameless.
    Thayers – cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused.
    Dictionary – Without fault, innocent, guiltless, not meriting censure.

    2 – Just
    Strongs #1342 – dikaios {dik'-ah-yos} from 1349;
    Thayers – righteous, observing divine laws, innocent, faultless, guiltless.

    3 – Holy
    Strongs #3741 – hosios {hos'-ee-os}
    Thayers – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
    religiously observing every moral obligation.

    Now that’s three tough qualifications for pastor/elder/leader. Yes?

    How many pastor/elder/leaders today, who honestly examine themselves, seriously considering these three qualifications, can see themselves as Blameless, Just and Holy, innocent, without fault, above reproach, undefiled by sin, and thus qualify to be an pastor/leader/overseer? And, if they can see themself as *blameless?* Is that pride? And no longer without fault? 😉

    If WE, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Body…
    Take seriously the many tough Qualifications in 1 Tim 3:1-6, and Titus 1:5-9…

    The number of Biblically Qualified, pastor/elders/leaders, is quite small. 😉

    But, will these UN-qualified, pastor/elder/leaders, “Remove Themselves?”
    And be a good example to the flock?

    Ps 138:6
    Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:
    but the proud he knoweth afar off.

    Ps 40:4
    Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust,
    and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

    • ronedmondson says:

      God bless you friend.

      • A. Amos Love says:

        And God bless you Ron.

        Mal 3:16
        Then they that feared the LORD
        spake often one to another:
        and the LORD hearkened, and heard it,
        and a book of remembrance was written before him
        for them that feared the LORD,
        and that thought upon his name.

  • […] Ron Edmondson’s seven biggest frustrations as a leader. […]

  • David M. says:

    What I can't understand is that I have been accused, as a minster, by others in leadership of being of everyone of these things. I push for change and when they won't budge, I'm accused of trying to get my way. When I voice my concern or opinion, I'm accused of being stubborn and rude (most of the time it's attributed to my younger age). I only want to see what's best done where I'm at and I want to see people grow and serve, and yet I'm the one accused of pushing "my way"…..I stay confused.

    • ronedmondson says:

      My gut says its either 1)In your approach 2)The DNA of the organization or 3)A bad leader on the receiving end.Figuring out which one will make the difference and determine what you can control and which you can't.

  • Brian Prucey says:

    Someone already mentioned lack of commitment. But along that same line, I am frustrated by people (especially volunteers!) who make a commitment and fail to follow through with their commitment. The leader is always left holding the bag.

  • I like Dave Miller's comment above and your response. My additions and personal frustrations as a leader: (1) Silo-mentality – similar to "selfishness", (2) Lack of passion, excitement & energy, and (3) prickliness and lack of self-awareness/relational intelligence.

  • Dave Miller says:

    My biggest frustration is how often I fall into these categories!

  • Bryan Ruffin

    Lack of fortitude. When it comes to confrontation, they don't like to make people mad.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Yes, very true

    • jimpemberton says:

      Contentiousness. When people would rather compete than cooperate. There needs to be a balance between the two. Unfortunately, the cooperators need to become contentious to push back against the contentious. Therefore, the contentious are too often seen as better leaders because of their willingness to put down the cooperators. The reason we have contentiousness is because people think too highly of their own opinions.

  • Karen says:

    I would add selfishness. These are the folks who make everything about them. From their personal lives to every task they are asked to do it is always and only about what works for them.

  • Matt Grube

    Good stuff! I would probably add dealing with gossip to the list. God bless!

  • Excellent list, Ron. I would add lack of clarity to it. I have found no greater source of frustration for leaders in the middle, than lack of clarity from the top of the organization.__Thanks!

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