Skip to main content

Whoever is lazy regarding his work is also a brother to the master of destruction. Proverbs 18:9

Laziness is a sin.

It’s also annoying. And, ineffective in leadership.

The fact is, however, many of us have some lazy tendencies when it comes to leadership. I do at times. This is as much an inward reflecting post as an outward teaching.

Please understand, I’m not calling a leader lazy who defaults to any of these leadership practices listed. The leader may be extremely hard working, but the practice itself – I’m contending – is lazy leadership.

Here are a 7 examples of lazy leadership practices.

Assuming the answer without asking hard questions.

Or, not asking enough questions. It’s easier just to move forward sometimes – and sometimes it’s even necessary to move quickly, but many times we just didn’t put enough energy into making the best decision. Often its because we don’t want to know or are afraid to know the real answer. It is the lazy way of making decisions.

Not delegating. 

Again, I’m not saying the leader is lazy. But this part of their leadership is lazy. It’s easier many times just to “do it myself” than to go through the process of delegating. Good delegating takes hard work. You can’t just “dump and run”. You have to help people know the vision, understand a win, and stay close enough in case they need you again. New leaders are developed, loyalty is gained, and teams are made more effective through delegation.

Giving up after the first try.

No one likes to fail. Sometimes it’s easier to scrap a dream and start over rather than fight through the messiness and even embarrassment of picking up the pieces of a broken dream. But if the dream was valid the first time, it probably still has some validity today.

Not investing in younger leaders.

There’s the whole generational gap – differences in values, communication styles, expectations, etc. It would be easier to surround ourselves with all like-minded people, but who wins with that approach – especially long-term?

Settling for mediocre performance.

It’s more difficult to push for excellence. Average results come with average efforts. It’s the hard work and the final efforts, which produce the best results. But, the experience of celebrating when you’ve done your best work is always worth the extra energy.

Not explaining why.

“Just do what I say” leadership saves a lot of the leader’s time. If I don’t have to explain what’s in my head – just tell people what to do – I get to do more of what I want to do. But, I’d have a bunch of pawns on my team and one disrespected, ineffective and unprotected boss (leader). (And, being “boss” is not a good leadership style by the way.) Continual vision casting is often the harder work, but necessary for the best results in leadership.

Avoiding conflict.

No one likes conflict. Not even those of us who don’t run from it. But, you can’t lead effectively without experiencing conflict. Every decision a leader makes is subject to agreement and disagreement. It’s why we need leadership. If there was only one direction who needs a leader? To achieve best – the very best – we have to lead people beyond a simple compromise, which makes everyone happy.

Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Proverbs 6:6

If you’ve been practicing lazy leadership, the best response – as to any sin – is to repent, turn away, and do the hard work of leadership. You and your team will benefit greatly.


Related Posts

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

More posts by Ron Edmondson

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • kiricowell says:

    I want to learn new things. I can read on age of war

  • hanavia says:

    Good word Mindi google

  • flappy bird says:

    These are leadership methods that help businesses save time to best manage tasks.

  • Mark Stanley says:

    Great list – and a challenging one to boot.

    The conflict one is difficult in many settings and avoidance may happen for many reasons. Confronting a strong, influential member of the congregation or longer serving employee may be needed – but one is niaive to think there will not be a cost. And so one must consider the cost – particularly if the cost will be an increase in conflict and more widespread conflict when that influential member rally’s their supporters.

    It’s easy to say, ‘well – real leaders need to be prepared to handle that cost’ – but when it affects your family, when you know your leaders (those you report to – be it a board or a head office) may not support you, when you have a larger agenda in mind – avoiding conflict may be the right think to do.

    There is real, tangible, and damaging abuse being inflicted by members of congregations – and it is only recently being acknowledge. Even so, there is little protect for pastors/Christian leaders in these settings – a huge contrast when one considers the protection employees have in terms of Employment Standards, Human Rights Legislation, etc (Canada). Pastors – and leaders of Christian organizations – are expected to absorb conflict, avoid conflict, or skilfully (perhaps miraculously) manage conflict with the only acceptable “success” being a positive outcome.

    It’s just not realistic.

    It would perhaps be more helpful to encourage and instruct pastors/leaders about how they can develop a conflict resolution process and method to incorporate into their workplace for how conflict will be managed – and how to get board and congregational buy in/commitment.


    • Ron Edmondson says:

      Thanks, Mark. I actually have written quite a bit on dealing with conflict on this blog and in my book Mythical Leader. I’ve considered writing a whole book on the subject. More than that, I have walked through these issues with dozens of pastors in the past. Happy to help any way I can. Of course, there are tons of issues dealing with different church and denominational differences, but some principles cross these lines.

  • thegreatfish says:

    This is a great list.

    At my work, they are investing in new, not necessarily younger, leaders. It is not just a platitude, but they really step up and make room, encourage, reward, and do everything thing can to pull you up the rungs. I have been places where it was just a platitude, and people resented the bait and switch. When I say people, I mean me, of course.

    The most irritating lazy pastoral-leader trait is avoiding conflict and letting your associates handle it all. When I see a leader do this, all the respect I may have had for him/her is completely gone. Cowardice describes it more than laziness.