In our previous post, we published the beginning of the article “14-Point Check-up for Mistakes that Will Hurt your Leadership” by Pastor Dan Reiland. Today we will continue the checklist with the last important pointers for any leader or minister.
5. Starting but Not Finishing
I’ll let you in on a little secret, not finishing what you start frustrates the people you work with and lead. Being a self-starter and taking the initiative is good, but not if you don’t finish. If you do this often enough it can start to reflect on your character.
If you have too many unfinished projects, it’s better to prioritize them and let your team know which ones you are going to kill so that you can finish the most important ones.
- What important unfinished project do you need to finish?
6. Forgetting Kindness
The longer I lead, the more I see the importance of consistency in kindness. Kindness in many ways represents the heart of God. Yes, leaders must be strong and decisive, but that doesn’t preclude treating people with a kind spirit. God delights in kindness (Jeremiah 9:24).
In another post dedicated to this topic, I wrote: “Kindness is an essential human quality that allows trust, connection, and genuine exchange to take place. Kindness brings peace and joy into pressure-filled situations. Kindness is not a new idea, but it’s often undeveloped as a leadership trait.”
- Would people evaluate you as a kind leader?
7. Too Busy Not to Pray
I know you want to pray, and if you have a strong prayer life, great!
If your prayer life is not what you’d like it to be, start by asking yourself, what is preventing you from praying? Do your best to push through the blockage. The best remedy is to start small. Take action by praying a brief prayer each day and build up from there.
Don’t get discouraged or heap guilt on yourself, take joy in a few minutes of prayer a day and let the amount of time build. God doesn’t keep a scoreboard on you; He just wants time with you.
- Are you satisfied with your prayer life?
- What simplechange could you make so that prayer is more part of your life, rather than another thing on your to-do list?
8. Under-Prioritizing the Development of Leaders
Few things are more important than developing leaders in your church. In fact, next to the power of prayer and people being saved, I’m not sure anything is more important. Regardless of where you rank leadership development, I’m confident that you know it’s essential to realize the vision God has given you for your church.
- Do you have a plan in action for developing new leaders?
9. Dreaming Big, But Executing Small
This does not refer to “all talk no action,” that’s not a common leadership mistake. However, communicating big dreams without creating commensurate plans and strategies is common. That always results in poor or limited execution. You don’t need to dumb down your dreams, but make sure you build plans that can accommodate your dreams.
- Do you have a good strategic plan in place?
10. Leading With a Scarcity Mindset
The best leaders are generous leaders.
They are not afraid of “running out” they figure out how to “make more.”
This idea does not imply a careless model of stewardship. It recognizes both the ability to be smart with what you have as well as the ability for you and God together to deliver more. The scope is not limited to money or the material world but includes greater breadth from the fruit of the spirit to a selfless nature. At its core, it’s about a giving spirit.
- Do you see yourself as leaning more toward a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset?
11. Winging It (doing something without planning) Instead of Being Thoroughly Prepared
If we were in a room of church leaders and the speaker asked; “Who here has ever succumbed to ‘winging-it’ in a meeting or while giving a talk?” All hands would go up. It happens, but it’s an unwise thing to repeat and will catch up with you over time and hurt your leadership.
Preparation is one of those behind-the-scenes disciplines that is essential to great leadership. I honestly don’t know one great leader who has led well for decades, that does not consistently and diligently prepare for everything they do.
- Would your colleagues see you as a leader who consistently prepares well?
12. Judgmental, Resentful, or Holding Grudges
We know that judging, resentfulness, and grudges go against the core of the gospel, (grace and forgiveness), yet they still find their way into the hearts and lives even of some of the best leaders.
The most common paths are things like hurt, exhaustion, deep insecurity, jealousy, or a critical spirit. If you struggle here, this may require more than human resolve to change. Prayer and wisdom from a good counselor may be beneficial.
- Under what circumstances are you most tempted to judge, resent or hold a grudge?
- How do you best overcome that temptation?
13. No Longer Learning
Leaders are learners; they are life-long learners. The quickest way to irrelevance as a leader is to stop learning. My friend and mentor John Maxwell has been leading now for about fifty years and to this day is a ferocious student. Every time we text or talk, John mentions something he’s learning, a book he’s reading or a new idea he’s thinking about.
- Are you a student at heart?
- What have you recently learned?
14. Operating Without Margin (time not scheduled)
This is one of the mistakes on the checklist that I need to work on. Saying yes is apparently a spiritual gift for me, and I need to say no more often, create margin, and focus better on my most productive priorities. How about you?
I admire the leaders I know that are laser-focused, even when they say no to me. I don’t like their no, but I understand it. Margin is needed to take care of your soul, rest and enjoy life. Margin is required to be at your best and do your best.
- What area of your life most needs some margin?
So, how did you do?
Are there two or three you need to work on over the next few months? Don’t make your list longer than that. Just tackle between one to three at a time.
Dan Reiland is the Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY.
© 2019 Dan Reiland | The Pastor’s Coach – Developing Church Leaders