As a result of this blog, I receive emails regularly from staff members of other churches or nonprofit organizations. There is usually a question they have about leadership, but along with the question often comes a complaint about their leader. And there are many.
I’ve been in a leadership position for near 30 years so I know complaints are common in leadership. If you’re in leadership you will receive complaints—about the organization you lead, the people in it and about you. Period.
And, let’s be fair—some of them are valid. Some of them are not, but some are, because leaders aren’t perfect. None of them. Definitely including this one. There is validity in many of the complaints we receive.
I once decided I would compile a list of some of the most common complaints I hear. After grouping them together for brevity, I went with the top 12 most repeated.
Why is this important? It’s not to lump more hot coal on a burdened leader. I love leaders. Investing in them is part of my calling. But, I also have a conviction. I believe I am less likely to improve where I don’t know I need to improve. Compiling this list became an awareness exercise for me as much as anything.
Here are 12 common complaints about leaders:
Controlling – All the decisions are decided and announced. No one gets to provide input. The final decision must come from the leader.
Defensive – The leader challenges every challenge. You can’t talk to him or her about a problem. They refuse to be wrong or admit anything is wrong. (As if we can refuse to be wrong, right?)
Stuck – Some leaders love routines and structure so much they never attempt to move things forward until they are forced into change. They are always playing defense—never offense.