Two Really Bad Ways to Work on Your Leadership Weakness

Just as all leaders have areas of strength, all leaders also have areas of weakness. There is no such thing as an omni-competent leader. But what should a leader do with his or her weaknesses? Books have been written and speeches have been given encouraging leaders to focus on their strengths, to leverage what they are uniquely qualified to do. And while the counsel is wise, that we should focus on our strengths and operate in our gifting, the counsel is incomplete. Our weaknesses as leaders can crush us if we do either of these things with them:

1. Ignore them.

The struggle with the counsel to focus exclusively on your strengths is that your weaknesses can crush you if they are not managed. In his book, The Leadership Code, Dave Ulrich gives four key disciplines for all leaders (strategist, executor, talent manager, and developer) and argues that leaders must be at least average in all of them. You don’t have to be excellent in all of them but if you are not at least average, your weakness becomes, according to Ulrich, a debilitating weakness. But some leaders make the mistake of ignoring their weaknesses.

  • The “super administrative leader” can be tempted to shrug off his/her lack of relational skills. And while the administrative guru does not need to be the walking epitome of “how to win friends and influence people,” if the admin guru can’t look people in the eyes and have a conversation, the leader’s weakness will thwart his/her strength.
  • The “visionary” can be tempted to shrug off execution. “Oh, those are just details; I am a high level thinker.” But if the visionary can’t answer emails and get anything done on time, people won’t listen to his/her vision indefinitely.

2. Lead in them.

It takes neglect for leaders to ignore their weaknesses and pride to lead in them. A leader who insists he/she can do everything is ignorant of the gifting in those around him/her. To lead in your weaknesses proves too high a view of yourself and too low a view of others around you. It is absolutely foolish to attempt to prove yourself as “the man” or “the top leader” by failing to admit your weaknesses and rely on others around you. Leaders who lead in their weaknesses dishonor the gifting of the men and women who surround them and limit their own effectiveness.

Both the leader who ignores weaknesses and the leader who leads in them will lose credibility. Lead in your strengths while managing your weaknesses.

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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 agree with your 3 must-haves. I would add that the rectors have to call on every member who attends, at least once a year. The existence of a "calling commitee" is just an excuse to avoid making the effort. This is part of #3. If a rector does not like to call on parishioners, then she/he should not be a rector, but should find a different ministry. Carter Kerns, former senior warden, Diocese of Eastern Oregon and lifelong Episcopalian Tel# 541-379-3124
 
— Carter Kerns
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Are there any reliable statistics about the percentage of church plants that fail after 3 years in the US?
 
— Jon Moore
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 

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