Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 7 Signs of a Controlling Pastor

7 Signs of a Controlling Pastor

controlling leader

I regularly talk to young leaders through my blog, and many of them feel they are working for a controlling pastor. In a recent post, I talked about the three results of controlling leadership.

In full disclosure, one of my top strengths on the StrengthsFinder assessment is COMMAND. I’ll take over if no one else in the room will—so some of the young leaders on my team may have felt that way about me at times. I have to discipline myself not to be a controlling leader.

But it’s a value for me personally not to be one, so I consistently try to evaluate. (And I’ve let teams I lead evaluate me.) And also granted, as I’ve posted previously, I believe there are some things a leader needs to control—especially early in their leadership. For example, I have controlled (or micromanaged) the hiring of key staff members during my beginning years of church revitalization. We are changing a culture. I am building a team—one I don’t have to control. And that’s worked well so far.

The odd thing I find is that many controlling pastors never really know they are one. They may actually even believe they are being good leaders—making sure things go well for the organization.

As I’ve pointed out in previous posts about this issue, controlling leaders are ever present in the church. So, maybe if you’re reading this, you are still wondering if you might be a controlling pastor. (Or if you work for one.)

7 Signs of a Controlling Pastor:

1. Your team struggles to share new ideas.

Are people sheepish around you when they have an idea that may be different from yours? Do they start apologizing prior to approaching you with a new idea? Do they appear timid, fearful, even reluctant to share a thought? This may be on them—it might be on you, leader.

2. You think you’re wonderful.

I don’t mean this to be funny. When a leader is in the control position, because of their own confidence, they can often feel everyone approves of all they are doing. A controlling leader may not really know how people feel about them. They assume everyone approves of their leadership.

Look to page two for five more signs of a controlling pastor: