Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 5 Signs You’re a Lone Ranger Leader (and Can’t Grow a Team)

5 Signs You’re a Lone Ranger Leader (and Can’t Grow a Team)

2. You Feel Guilty Letting Go

Ah, you say, great theory. But I feel guilty letting go and giving all this work to other people.



Maybe you need some time in counseling to get to the root of that.

Listen, it’s not a unique problem. Many leaders feel guilty about giving assignments, tasks and whole areas of responsibility to other people. But if that’s you, you really need to drill down on why that is.

Essentially your unwillingness to let go means you have all the gifts and no one else does.

And it means that you will refuse to let other people explore and develop the gifts God has given them.

Why would you feel guilty about letting people lean into their gifting?


3. You Feel Threatened by Gifted People

If you get really honest with yourself (which I hope you do), you may realize that deep down you feel threatened by gifted people.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

You know what’s underneath that emotion? Insecurity. And unchecked, insecurity permanently stunts your growth and the growth of your organization.

There’s all kinds of ugliness in your insecurity. If you really go there, you’ll find fear, jealousy, anxiety and all kinds of nasty things.

So how do you battle your insecurity? By doing the opposite of what you feel like doing.

Welcome gifted people. Give them responsibility. Celebrate people who are more gifted that you are. And then hang on and trust God.

You’ll discover everyone gets better, including you.

4. You Fear the People You Delegate to Will Mess Things Up

But, you say, so I get gifted people into place and I let them go.

But what happens if they mess up or if they take things in the wrong direction? That’s why I need to stay in control.

Well, no. That will get you right back to doing everything yourself quickly and stunting the growth of your mission.

The fear you have of delegating and having people head off in the wrong direction is much easier to solve than you think because almost always that’s a clarity issue.

Teams align around clarity. Having a clear mission, clear strategy and clear values, clearly articulated, means you can deploy many leaders and never have them run things off the rails.

In the absence of clarity, you will default to control because you worry that leaders will take your church or organization to places you don’t believe it should go. And the truth is, they will. Not because they’re bad people, but because you haven’t been clear.

So, if you want to release dozens or hundreds of leaders, your job is to state the mission, vision and strategy clearly enough that it’s repeatable and reproducible for anybody other than you. In the absence of clarity, well-intentioned team members end up going rogue, not because they’re trying to be disloyal, but because you never clearly defined the destination.

The more clarity you have as a leader, the less you will feel a need to control anything.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.