Is complacency hindering your ability to lead?
Is complacency hindering your ability to lead? (iStock photo)

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There are times I'm a better leader than at others. Sometimes it's my fault. Other times the cause is unavoidable.

If we can begin to identify what interrupts strong leadership, we can become better leaders. I have personally experienced some things in my own life that weaken my leadership. I am consistently finding ways to guard against them.

Here are 7 things that weaken leadership:

1. Distractions. As leaders, we do our best work when we are pointing people toward worthy visions. Some would say that's precisely what leadership does. It's easy to get distracted with things that, while they may be good, they don't help move the organization towards the vision. In fact, they delay progress towards the vision. I've also learned that I need to be leading in my strengths and if I ever get weak in my courage to say no to some things, my yes will be far less valuable.

2. Lack of discipline. It matters not that there is a great vision if we don't discipline ourselves to reach it. That includes having good plans  good goals. Good objectives. Good systems and strategies.

3. Ceased learning. Leading others to grow requires leaders who are growing. When I stop the creativity I my mind, I cease to have anything new to offer the team I'm trying to lead. Life becomes rather stale—quickly.

4. Negative influences. It's hard to be the only positive in a room full of negatives. Sometimes as a leader I've felt like more cheerleader than coach. It's one reason I surround myself with people who have a good outlook on life. I don't want all "yes" people, but if everything is always an immediate "no"—or "I don't like it but I have nothing better to offer"—that's draining and it is only going to bring down me and the strength of the rest of the team.

5. Fear. Risk is involved in every leadership decision. Notice I said every. And I meant every. I didn't say risk was involved in every decision a leader makes but every leadership decision. Leadership is taking people to an unknown. That involves risk. Every time. And every risk involves a certain level of fear. That's natural. Fear keeps leaders from moving forward when they allow the fear to dominate the decision more than the opportunity of the risk.

6. Pride. Pride goes before the fall. Pride destroys. Absolute pride destroys absolutely. Okay I embellished that one, but you get the point. Prideful leaders are always weakened by that pride. No one truly follows a prideful leader. They may obey. They may even be infatuated for a season. But they don't follow.

7. Contentment. Leadership involves a sense of urgency. When we lose that we lose the inner drive to lead well. We become weakened by our own loss of personal momentum.

8. Complacency. All of us love to succeed. I think attempting to is a pretty good goal. We might even plan for it. Sadly, though, sometimes a little success can usher in complacency. We can begin to think we've figured out a system to success. Before long, we don't think we have to be intentional anymore—maybe not even have to try as hard as we used to try. We can become weak quickly by our own delusions of grandeur.

Those are a few things that have weakened my leadership. What would you add to my list?

Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.

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