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Seven Easy to Identify Examples of Shallow Leadership

By March 16, 2023Church, Leadership

Growing in the knowledge of and the relational aspect of leadership, should be a goal for every leader. Yet, a team can quickly identify examples of  shallow leadership.

Sadly, in my experience, many leaders settle for a status quo leadership rather than stretching themselves to continually improve. They settle for mediocre quality of leading, rather than attempting the hard work of leadership excellence. Some remain oblivious to the real health of their leadership and the organizations they lead.

I have often referred to this style of leadership as shallow leadership.

Perhaps you’ve seen this before or maybe you’ve been guilty of providing shallow leadership. For seasons, at least, I am not too proud to admit I certainly have. And these times are easy to identify by the teams we lead.

If you’re still wondering what shallow leadership looks like, let me offer some suggestions.

7 easy to identify examples of shallow leadership:

Thinking your idea will be everyone’s idea.

You assume everyone is on the same page with you or that everyone thinks like you. That’s often because you’ve stopped asking questions. You have stopped evaluating everything and perhaps aren’t as open to constructive evaluation – of you.

Believing your way is the only way.

You’re the leader- you must be right, right? Maybe you’ve had some success and it went to your head just a little. Perhaps you’ve become – or you’ve always been – a little stubborn or head strong. You may even be controlling. Some have to make or sign off on every decision. Others never delegate. Those are all signs of shallow leadership, because you’ve likely shut out some of the best ideas within the organization – which reside among the people you are trying to lead.

Assuming you already know the answer.

You think you’ve done it long enough to see it all, so you quit learning. Perhaps you have stopped reading. You never meet with other leaders anymore.

Pretending to care when really you don’t.

This is so common among shallow leaders. Shallow leaders have grown cold in their passion. They may speak the vision, but they’re just words on a page or hung on a wall now. Some may even go through all the motions. They are still drawing a paycheck, but if the truth be known, they’d rather be anywhere than where they are right now.

Giving the response, which makes you most popular.

Shallow leaders like to be liked. They never make the hard decisions, refuse to challenge, avoid conflict, and run from complainers. Some ignore the real problems in the organization so things never really get better.

Refusing to make a hard decision.

Often a shallow leader had a setback at some point. Things didn’t go as planned, so they’ve grown scared or overwhelmed and so they refuse to walk by faith. The team won’t move forward because the leader won’t move forward.

Ignoring the warning signs of poor health.

This can be poor health in the organization, the team, or in the leader. Things may not be “awesome” anymore. Momentum may be suffering. Shallow leaders look the other way. And, again, it could be the leader. Your soul may be empty. You may be the one unhealthy. Or the team may be unhealthy. Shallow leaders refuse to see it or do anything about it.

We never achieve our best with shallow leadership. The first step is always to admit.

Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss issues of leadership nuggets in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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