The Common Mistakes We Make As Leaders…

There is this very interesting article written by Tony Morgan., in Church Solution Magazine entitled 10 Stupid Leadership Mistakes I’ve Made, dated 6 May 2008. 

These ten points have been my soul searching and understanding of what leadership is all about especially in context of being a church leader and a pastoral agent. 

These are common mistakes we as leaders make and the most interesting thing of these mistakes is that as a leader in whatever capacity, rank, position have to face the litmus test and admit that we have in one time in our leadership vocation we have fallen into these mistakes and ought to own up and learn from our mistakes without blaming anyone as a scapegoat. 

I do believe that once we share these points, we will be able to become good leaders in our churches, parishes, communities and at a larger level in this global village of ours.

1. Hiring too fast and firing too slow. 

We tend to always want to do things in a very fast manner with the the reason of no time left and as such we rush through a process of hiring, soliciting, procuring and enlisting the needs in a very fast and in a supersonic speed.
In this case everything is seen to be fast and in working progress. The tendency is to fill the role with the best available person or agent who is efficient, effective and relevant to the needed purpose of job description and skills. 
Sometimes it reaches a point that it may not even be the person the office or the institution actually was in need, but because we are running out of time to hire the pressure takes toll of the institutional leadership to do the very best in their means. Sometimes leaving the problem for a long time becomes incurable wound to the institution putting in mind that every choice has got its consequences.
On the other side of the coin, going too slow to let off the person we have stayed and worked with for a long time becomes a nightmare,creating drama and the sarcasm that come long with it especially when those in authority seem to be sleeping and forgetting the reason to why the person was hired in the first place. The same time and energy spent in hiring should be the same energy put in to fire.

2. Trying to fix the problem rather than the process. 

It is always good that we follow the process in as far as the stipulated regulations and norms are concerned. It may take a long time and process but ought to be done well as required. It is easier to give a poor man food, clothing and money so as to save yourself from nudging, well that will pass, but have solved the problem?. 
It is always good to sit down with the person face to face and see that need in his or her eyes, what exactly is happening in this person’s life? be part of the engagement and reality,  why is it so and how can I be of help in this dire moment. 
Finding out the solution together, as the ad dictum could state, better help the person to fish other than give him fish. We often react to the problem other than sitting down and involving the stakeholders in the solution finding, of course we often lack patience, but which is the best way, to deal with the process well not in a half-baked manner causing cancer to the institute and then forced to go through untold procedures due to shortsightedness and ignorance of poor leadership skill.

3. Putting the projects before the people. 

Sometimes we have very many good ideas but the way we put across those ideas is not in good way, you don’t force ideas in people, but use a language acceptable to the group, pleading, convincing and showing no hurry when dealing with people issues.
People are good listeners so long as you listen to yourself first of how you need to communicate. Its not about how many words you but how you use those words, people associate the leaders words with his personality type
Good leaders will always find that perfect balance between getting the job done well and embracing the relational component of doing in the team spirit. 
The leader who involves, makes people participants in day today decision making empowers, and makes the organization or institution advance rapidly towards the targeted goal, vision, mission, philosophy and above all upholding the core values of a specific organization.

4. Delegating tasks instead of responsibility. 

Once a leader undergoes pressure, crisis and uncertainties in his leadership there is a tendency to be pushed to the wall to the corner either blue or red. Because a leader who always wants to prove that he is a perfectionist, there are moments he will find himself stepping on other people’s toes in the company, organization as one who is responsible. 
This thinking may come along with an attitude of without me they can’t do anything, but who said so, it might have instilled fear in the colleagues that they leave all decisions in your hands, you will get burn outs and they will be seeing their leader breaking down without any assistance, they wash their hands and leave it upon leader to do all things, thinking his or her as the only one who can get the work to be done yet someone else can do it better than him. The failure to empower others with real responsibility is a guaranteed recipe for limiting the potential and sitting on people's emotions. 

5. Assuming it’s always black and white. 

As a leader you will find out that not all that you think you know is what may be, sometimes it’s a completely a different thing all together, why? If you assume that you know that you know everything, this attitude is usually a recipe for disaster. 
Sometimes life is not all black and white, sometimes its grey, red, and purple and what a joy to see those colours flourishing daily. We can never be the same but in our differences, we produce the beauty. 
Look at the flowers, each colour alone doesn’t bring in beauty, beauty comes in when put together in a banquet that is beauty. Each member of the organization is a colour that has come to bring flavor in the work place. The reality, of course, is never about black and white but more than that.

6. Not following my gut. 

We have all been raised up in different environment of looking at reality and have to perceive that reality with the mode of experience and conception. Our strengths sometimes can lead us to our biggest challenge. 
Whatever I want to accomplish ought to have  an inner voice in it, without that it is simply a routine work with no teachings to me and to the people around me. 
What exactly is God trying to accomplish in me? How do I reach that inner self compass? Especially when making a decision. I should allow always the first conscience to lead me and in case of doubt I should not act. 
It is not enough as a leader to acquire information but what is God wanting that I do in the given situation, our mind is too small to think you know all the solution, sometimes you have to leave some space of the Holy Spirit.

7. Dwelling on the worst-case scenario.

Sometimes as a leader you need to build a picture of the impossibilities around you, what would happen incase such a situation occurred out of where I am now, it is about chess mind game, every move has to have a purpose…why are you moving your ‘castle’ instead of the ‘bishop’, not to eat but always aim at checking the ‘king’, without that rethink and keep on rethinking over and over again. Sometimes 80% of our fears don’t exist, it is just what we have alerted our mind to think so, as a leader you ought not to fear your shadow, for the shadow is a reflection of the sun to the object, and your shadow is not the reality, the reality is you in contact with your very self.

8. Waiting until there’s a problem to provide feedback.

A leader should not be very anxious of what will it look like tomorrow, or how the end product will look like. The leader should not withhold encouragement, share it out without conditioning. 
Be generous with each member in your company, institution, when the team delivers give an encouragement to the team without feeling so indifferent and putting yourself ahead or chest thumbing with insults, of without me you couldn’t have made it attitude. But an expression of we have made it but we are not yet there, but so far so good lets thank each other for so far what we were able together.

9. Staying busy. 

There are leaders who will always stay busy, however much you look for an opportunity to share, give a call to seek for an opportunity all lines are always engaged, a leader should not show such attitude of being very busy for his workers, an important information may save an organization, because of your business you lose that chance. When you say your policy is open door, let it just not remain in words but in deeds too.

10. Spending too much time on the details rather than the dreams

There is this saying that goes the devil is in the details. As you go through details, focus also on the dreams. You may be very meticulous and at the end you forget the dream of being part of that meticularity/dream
Those dreams usually come when the pace of my life slows enough to do some reading, praying, resting, experiencing new places and meeting new people. Dealing with the day today life doesn’t allow for that.
It needs to be planned and prioritized. We need to create space to experience God and all that he has for us. This is a great list of mistakes, many of which I have made. How about you? Have you made any of these mistakes? Any mistakes you’ve made that are missing from this list?


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