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My Top 10 Leadership Mistakes: Mistakes 1-5

March 28, 2010

One more post inspired by Tony Morgan’s book (see below).  Morgan lists the top 10 leadership mistakes he’s made over the years. I resonated with most, but not all of his list. I also easily thought of a few that didn’t make his list that rank high on mine.  The order of my list is also different than his. Here’s mine, in order…

Mistake #1: Trying to Lead Without Humility
I came to the job of Pastor with complete confidence that I knew what I was doing, which was a folly. More than anything else, this lack of humility (still not my strong suit) revealed spiritual immaturity and an unwillingness to rely on God to lead.  Besides that, trying to lead without humility actually led to most all of the other mistakes on this list, which I could have avoided if I had acknowledged my problem and sought the wisdom of others. 
Mistake #2: Fearing to Lead
I am a natural worrier, I am naturally a person who dwells on the worst-case scenario. This is what happens when I let my focus wander from God to the circumstances around me.  It’s appropriate to plan and take steps to prevent the worst-case-scenario, it is necessary to prudently anticipate what can go wrong.  But it is sin in my life when this turns to obsessive worry.  It is sin in my life when I freeze or fail to move forward.  I have slowed this community down more than a few times because of my personal fear of moving forward.
Mistake #3: Wasting Time and Money
My failures and missteps all cost time and money, so this needs to be acknowledged at the top of the list.  For instance, I regret how much money we lost in trying to build a music program without a clear understanding of what kind of program we should have been building. Music is just one among others where time and money was wasted.
Mistake #4: Staying Busy
Before I served as pastor, I had an administrative job with the archdiocese in a very hectic and busy office, and I loved it. Everyday was different, phones ringing, lots of people all wanting to talk to me.  I became addicted to being busy. In my mind if I was busy I was adding value and being effective. 
While that might have been true there, it is not here.  And the reality here is that my busyness got in the way of my effectiveness. I was busy about the wrong things at the expense of more important things. The main example is weekly message preparation: it is a long, solitary exercise and it was (and still is) a temptation to get distracted with e-mail and the telephone and meetings and then get to the end of the week under prepared for the weekend.
Mistake #5: Spending Too Much Time on Details (at the expense of the big picture).
This is the obvious corollary to the mistake of staying busy. When life gets busy and I get invested in all the details flowing my way, I can lose sight of the dreams that God has for me.  The reality is that those dreams are clearer when I have a balanced pace of life with the right priorities.

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