God has gifted some people to be leaders — “If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.” Romans 12:8. It is also true that all church leaders should “take seriously” their responsibility to lead well, even if those who do not feel that they have the special gift of leadership. Part of that responsibility is learning and growing to become better leaders. Church consultant, Thom Rainer, wrote a recent blog about the top ten complaints he has heard over the years regarding pastors who are bad bosses.
Unfortunately, as I read this list, I saw elements in a couple of the statements that reflect areas in which I have struggled over the years. Certainly, those who would have criticized me would not have felt my weaknesses were as catastrophic as the criticisms below. Nevertheless, my leadership did fall short. Thank God, I have grown and improved in those areas! Nevertheless, I still struggle – more than I let on.
How about you? As you ponder the list below, be honest.
- Micromanagement. “I can’t do anything without the pastor getting involved and showing me a better way, or even taking over. He drives me crazy!”
- Avoiding conflict. “We have tons of unresolved conflict in our church because our pastor won’t address the issues. He tries to please everyone, and so he pleases no one.”
- Avoiding making decisions. “Our church seems like we are stuck in molasses because the pastor just can’t make a decision. He seems to live in fear of making the wrong move.”
- Stealing credit. “My pastor can’t stand for anyone else to have a good idea. It has to be his own. So if we have a good idea, he ridicules it. But a few months later he ‘discovers’ the same idea and takes full credit for it.”
- Shifting blame. “If you listened to our pastor, you would think he is blameless. If something does go wrong, he is quick to blame someone else for the problem. Two words I’ve never heard from him are ‘I’m sorry.’”
- Hoarding information. “I don’t get it. He keeps all information close to his vest. He seems to think it gives him some kind of authority or control. We on staff really don’t know what’s going on.”
- Failing to listen. “We’ve learned not to express any opinions to the pastor. We know he is only thinking about his next sentence instead of listening to us.”
- Setting a poor example. “Our church doesn’t reach anyone for Christ. And guess who never mentions evangelism, much less does evangelism? Our pastor.”
- Having a poor work ethic. “He probably works about four hours a day, but he gets furious when he thinks we aren’t doing our job. Total slackard!”
- Not developing staff. “He doesn’t train us, work with us, develop us, or point us to good resources. In fact, he rarely spends any time with us. I can’t call him a leader because he’s not leading us.”
Obviously, none of us are guilty of most of these bad behaviors. However, there may be a few elements in a couple of these areas that need improvement in your ministry – and you know it! If so, may I challenge you to give these matters deliberate attention through prayer, study, and professional attention? Many pastors are discovering that a ministerial coach can help them make significant progress in these types of areas. If you think this might be a possibility you would like to explore, let’s talk about a coach who could help you reach your full potential.