4 Dangers of Leading Above Your Work

Leaders are often encouraged to lead at 30,000 feet, which is a metaphor to lead above the daily grind and think further out, plan ahead, and navigate towards the future. Just as airplanes fly high to rise above the turbulence and above the clouds, leading at 30,000 feet allows a leader to rise above the urgency of today and strategically think and plan the future. But just as it is dangerous for planes to fly too high (commercial airlines are limited to 45,000 feet), it is dangerous when a leader leads at 60,000 feet, when a leader soars too high above the work. Here are four failings of the 60,000-foot leader:

1. Forgets about today

When a leader operates at 30K feet, the leader can still drop in and execute today. At 30K feet the leader plans the future with a sense of the challenges and realities of today. But the 60,000-foot leader neglects the leadership responsibilities of today. Leaders who are only focused on the future can fail to execute today.

2. Creates solutions for problems that don’t exist

Leading at 60K feet means leading above the reality, living only in the philosophical realm of ideas. Ideas and creative thinking are great, but when a leader is separated from daily realities, the most pressing problems are ignored and solutions are designed for problems that do not exist. The ideas and creative thinking at 60K feet are rarely connected at all to reality.

3. Acts with little urgency

The reason people want to fly high is that there is less turbulence, typically, the higher you go. The attraction of 60k foot leadership is being above, completely above, the turbulence. But leadership removed from reality always means leadership without urgency. At 30K a leader can think and plan and strategize without losing urgency. 60k feet is too high.

4. Makes decisions divorced from context

When a leader does not lead from within the context, decisions are always out of sync with the context. And 60k foot leadership pulls a leader too far from the context and the culture of the team.

It is important for leaders to go to 30,000 feet. Go there. Just don’t live at 60,000. It is dangerous that high.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 

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