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3 Results of Controlling Leadership

One of my pet peeves in leadership is the controlling leader.  I recently wrote some warning signs that indicate a leader may be one.  You can read that post HERE, but I keep seeing the type.  Controlling leaders are in every type of organization, including in the church.  (I also wrote about the difference in leading people versus controlling them HERE.)

I recently saw a controlling leader firsthand while working with another organization.  It reminded me that the main reason I’m so opposed to controlling leaders is that it is counter-productive to healthy organizations…and I love healthy organizations.

In fact, here are 3 results I see in teams and organizations with a controlling leader:

Leaders leave – You can’t keep a leader when you control him or her…at least not for long.  Leaders need room to breathe, explore, and take risks.  Controlling leaders stifle creativity, and a real leader will soon look for a place to grow.

Followers stay…many times…but they are often miserable – There are people wired to follow a controlling leader.  If I were using counseling terms, I’d call it co-dependency. Sometimes due to fear of venturing out on their own or because of a false sense of loyalty, they stay, but the controlling leadership makes them miserable.

Organizations stall – Controlling leadership always limits the organization to the strengths, dreams, and abilities of the controlling leader.

Dear leader, take it from a leader who has to discipline himself not to control, controlling leadership simply doesn’t work.  Have you learned that principle?

Have you worked for a controlling leader?  What would you add to my list of the results of controlling leadership?

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.