Lethargy Is Filled With Good Intent

Asleep at desk
(iStock photo )

There's a difference between a lazy leader and one who is lethargic.

A lazy leader is easy to spot and can be removed from his role with ease. A lethargic leader is much more dangerous to an organization because lethargy can give the appearance of activity even when there is none.

Consider these behaviors:

  • Avoidance of key decisions which need to be made

    This can appear to be analysis paralysis but often lethargic leaders won't even dig in deep.  The leader is busy pushing papers filled with data but the leader cannot focus on decision points.

    The do-nothing option is the hallmark of a lethargic leader. 

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  • Refusal to rock the boat

    "Let's not take this information anywhere. Things will get better. If we make waves, we'll probably get the blame."

    The path of least resistance is a favorite option of the lethargic. This person wakes up in the morning fully engaged to "keep my head down."


  • Just call him Peter

    Everyone knows Peter is in over his head. So, Peter will do very little to add fuel to the fire. His last promotion was, in fact, his last promotion. He is an avatar for the Peter Principle. Peter is just hoping to retire in place. He moves with lethargy.


  • The Entitled Coaster

     This leader has probably done well in the past. Because of his years in service, he feels entitled to show up and hold his place in line. He is frequently self-absorbed and sees things through his personal filter.

    He may make decisions, but it will always be in the best interest of his personal agenda.


  • Blame-Game Champion

     A lethargic leader spends valuable time pointing blame at people rather than systems. When challenged by others the lethargic leader is quick to roll blame on just about anyone. He is an equal opportunity blamer. He is a Teflon leader.


The Bible uses the word "idle" to describe lethargy. It's a good synonym and visually descriptive. The engine may be idling, but the car isn't leaving the garage.

Even Jesus couldn't keep his disciples awake when he needed them.

He observed, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Perhaps Jesus gave us the best description and rebuke for lethargy.



Today's Scripture

"Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle soul will suffer hunger" (Prov. 19:15).



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Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

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