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7 Deadly Leadership Sins

We have all seen leaders make mistakes and lose their position or influence.  Often leaders can recover and become a force for good in the lives of others.  However, there are some mistakes that leaders make that they cannot recover from. 

They are:

  1. Pride – A leader’s excessive belief in one’s own abilities.  This affects the leader’s decision-making and causes reckless behavior.  Often, the advice of the leader’s inner-circle and others is ignored with this sin.
  2. Envy – A leader’s desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation.  Successful leaders improve the quality of life for others.  Leaders with this sin seek to take from others.  This sin also causes those served by leaders to lose their trust because they know when times get tough, the leader will do what is best for him or herself, not the team. 
  3. Gluttony – An inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.  Do you have to have the best of everything?  How’s your expense reports looking?  A lack of discipline in one area of your life can be reflective of a lack of discipline in other areas of your life.
  4. Lust –  An inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.  Leaders serve others or they serve themselves.  Who would those on your team say your serve?  This sin will cause others to lose respect for their leader. 
  5. Wrath –  Often referred to as an anger, this is when a leader spurns love and opts instead for fury.  The only difference between anger and danger is a “d”.  Wrath/Anger creates an environment where there is little to no unfiltered evaluation.  Wrath creates an environment full of “Yes Men”.
  6. Greed –  The desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual and others.  While many people agree with Gordon Gekko that “greed is good”, the character in the Wall Street movies ended up in prison, lost his marriage, had a son commit suicide, and had a broken relationship with his daughter.  Leadership operating from a position of greed eventually results in moral bankruptcy. 
  7. Sloth –  The avoidance of physical or spiritual work.  The speed of the leader determines the speed of the team.  A lazy leader will produce a team that never reaches its full potential.

Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Wrath, Greed, Sloth.  What other deadly sins do you see leaders making?

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