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10 Surefire Ways to Get Burnt in Leadership

The following story is personally embarrassing, but it taught me a major leadership lesson. My family was on vacation last week in Jekyll Island, and it was time for us to go to the beach. My wife and I took an afternoon to sit under an umbrella, relax, get out of the sun, and do some reading.

I had my right leg under the umbrella in the shade but was unaware that my left foot was stretched too far out and was exposed to the sun. After 90 minutes, I was carrying all the items back to the hotel when I noticed my left foot was looking extremely “scaly,” for lack of a better word.

I’m a guy, but surely you don’t put sunscreen on your feet do you? Well, yes, you do, because after a couple of hours, I had a major sunburn on one foot that did not heal until a week later. My daughter started calling me “lobster.” With only one burned foot, I looked like a member of the X-Men just without any of the superpowers.

Here is the leadership lesson this experience taught me: 

When leaders leave even one part of their lives, no matter how trivial they think that may be, unprotected, they are exposed. And they will get burnt.

If men are watching television programs at home or on the road they should not, they will get burnt.

If leaders begin stretching the truth or telling “white lies,” they will get burnt.

If leaders become greedy, they will get burnt.

If leaders have anger issues, they will get burnt.

If leaders become over-confident and fail to prepare, they will get burnt.

If Christians neglect their prayer life and Bible reading, they will get burnt.

If leaders fail to develop others, they will get burnt.

If leaders lack boundaries, they will get burnt.

If leaders neglect their health, they will get burnt.

If leaders do not value different generations, races, or cultures, they will get burnt.

If these behaviors are not repented of and changed, the question is not WILL you get burnt? You will. The question is WHEN will you get burnt?

Leaders, does anything on this list concern you? Do you need to make significant changes TODAY? If so, please do, or you may disqualify yourself from leading others.

What other behaviors would you list that could burn leaders?

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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.