Leadership Mistakes

I have “a friend” who has spent the last year navigating what seems like an ocean of new leadership waters.  He has done some things right, and has also made plenty of leadership mistakes.  Some of these mistakes are “new” mistakes…mistakes made because he is in uncharterd territory and has faced some leadership scenarios he’s never faced before.  But, a shockingly large amount of the mistakes are mistakes that could have (should have) been avoided.  Because they came wrapped in new packages, some old-school leadership principles were missed.

Here are a few of the mistakes “my friend” has made this year. 

– Neglecting The Basics.  “My Friend” has been at his church for a long, long time and has done a fantastic job of beating the drum of things like values, purpose-statement, team culture, etc.  But the speed in which these things slip off people’s radar caught him off guard. He wrongly assumed that because the basics had been covered so well and so often that he could neglect them for a season.  This, coupled with the fact that his team has gone through a fair amount of turnover, has resulted in the need to start beating the drum loudly again. 

– Delegating The Wrong Stuff.   “My Friend” knows the importance of delegation, empowering others to help carry the load, etc.  But in his efforts to get more done and remain sane he has, on more than one occassion, decided to delegate things that should remain on his plate.  Things that he is better at than anybody else, things that he doesn’t like to do but is supposed to do, things that put too much pressure on others because of their urgency, things that are mundane and draining (his thinking was “hey, let somebody else be bored!).  Delegation, when done properly, can be a leader’s best friend.  When done poorly, it causes a ton of grief.

Becoming A Mile Wide, And An Inch Deep. This may be the one that is causing “My Friend” the most heartache.  On one hand, he is getting more done and seeing more success than at any other time in his ministry career.  But at the same time his busyness has caused some of his relationships to suffer, it has squeezed out things like exercise, surfing (weird, “My Friend” likes to surf, too!), and other things that matter most.

Life and ministry are great for “My Friend”, but when he slows down enough to take an up-close look at things, it is easy to see where things have gotten a little off kilter, and he is determined to tighten the screws where he needs to.

Learn from my friend…..I sure have.

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Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.