I have been in leadership roles for over three decades now. I’ve led large and small teams in business, government, church and nonprofits. Along the way, I’ve learned there are some actions which can limit a leader’s potential to lead well.
My heart is for leaders. One of the primary purposes of this blog (and our podcast) is to share simple leadership principles I have learned; many the hard way. Often a simple idea is powerful when put into practice in your context.
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 your potential to lead well.
7 actions which can limit a leader’s potential:
Trying to plan or control 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 in leading.
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.
Changing the way things are done 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 some of the people on your team.
You can’t do it alone. No leader has all the good 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.
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 at times. And this should exclude no one on your team. Every person can bring value to the organization or they shouldn’t be there.
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 with those who hurt you.
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 that 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.
When the last chapter of your leadership is written, your real success 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. People trusted you enough to follow you.
This doesn’t mean you don’t need 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?