Leadership Blind Spots - Part 2
Last month we began a discussion around leadership blind spots, the principal of a blind spot being something cannot be perceived from your point-of-view until you intentionally alter your perspective to engage with it. Last month we revealed the first three, this month we’ll unpack three more. But before we move on, time for a brief recap….
Failure to Lead Up: When we focus only on leading our young people, and fail to properly engage our senior leaders in the process, results in frustration, failed plans and strained relationships.
People Pleasing: When the desire to be liked by everyone, or to try and pander to everybody’s needs, results in uninspiring ministry, lack of progress and mediocrity.
Perfectionism: When the perfectionist leader desires everything to be done their way, resulting in demotivated followers and unnecessary procrastination before acting on new ideas.
Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s jump into the next three…
Lack of Focus
One of the most common of all leadership blind spots is simply doing too much! We continually take on more and more because those new opportunities that come our way seem too good to miss, forgetting that we cannot do everything, and we certainly cannot do everything well. Pastor Andy Stanley makes the point that ‘The less you do, the more you accomplish.’ He’s right! By seeking to accomplish too much we often find ourselves taking shortcuts on everything to get it all done. But it’s far better to do one thing brilliantly than loads of things poorly. So zero your focus in on the best things by being willing to let go of some good things.
For Reflection: Are you seeking to accomplish so much that you are actually accomplishing very little at all? Are there some things you could let go of in order to focus on your top priorities?
Very few of us are so narcissistic that we are overtly boastful, but almost all of us have some element of pride the reveals itself in more subtle ways. Consider, for example, the leader who fills a team meeting with their own voice, passing on instructions and ideas, while the rest of the team sit silently, hoping against hope get a word in edgeways! Verbal diarrhoea? Possibly. But more likely pride. Why so? Because this leader inwardly believes their contribution is more important than the rest of the team. They have all the answers! Consequently, they fail to get the best out of the people around them and continually miss out on learning opportunities. It’s a blind spot.
Or what about the leader who addresses people in positions authority or influence differently to the way they engage with people “below them”. They make more eye contact, give them their full attention, and listen intently. Proper respect for leadership? Possibly. But more likely pride. Why so? Because somewhere deep down they likely believe they are “better” or “more important” than those with less influence than them, and hope that those with greater influence can open up bigger and better opportunities for themselves. It’s pride in the more subtle form of selfish ambition, and it’s a blind spot…. And when we consider that ‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble’ (James 4:6), it’s a pretty serious one!
For Reflection: Examine your heart. Can you identify areas of pride that reveal themselves in more subtle ways? Are you more ambitious for yourself than for the people you lead?
Straying out of your lane
How well do you know yourself? Can you immediately identify your top three spiritual gifts? What do you do so well and so naturally that you’re surprised to discover not everyone can do it? Do you know your strengths and the shadow side of your strengths? What replenishes you and keeps your passion burning hot? How about your spiritual temperament? In which ways, places and practices do you best meet with and hear from God? If you don’t know the answer to these questions then you have identified a leadership blind spot.
When God made you he made you on purpose, for a purpose. He designed you specifically, with the unique set of gifts, personality and strengths you need to do what he is calling you to do. For that reason, we lead at our best what we do is an overflow of who we are. But when we don’t understand ourselves we can very quickly give ourselves to things that are outside of our God-given calling and capacity, and as a result, we become frustrated, lose passion, and usually don’t do a very good job! So stay in your lane. Understand who God made you to be and lead out of who you are.
For Reflection: Can you identify your gifts and strengths? If you can, is what you do an overflow of who you are?
Before you move on, take a few moments to pause, to reflect on these questions, and to consider your leadership blind spots. And don’t forget to check back next month where we’ll unpack the final three leadership blindspots.
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