Tag Archive: learning

When You're an Inadequate Leader

holding boulder

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto®

There are some days you’ll feel like an inadequate leader. Some days, it’s just something you feel – and other days, it’s a reality.

In my library, I have just shy of 100 books on leadership. So, I know (or at least have read about) what it means to be an effective leader. I know what an effective leader looks like.

And I also know when I don’t measure up.

On days when you’re not as good of a leader as your job requires, responding to that well is, in fact, a leadership opportunity. So how does this play out?

In a recent work day, I acquiesced. I wasn’t trying to be a great leader anymore, but was simply trying to control the rate at which I was disappointing people. It was clear I couldn’t be all I needed to be for others, so I was trying to regulate the disappointment factor.

I’ve been doing the church-leader role for 18 years, and I know when the issues pressing me are beyond my ministry intelligence or my capacity as a leader. This happens enough that I’ve developed some responses for when I experience those situations.

When you’re not the leader everyone needs you to be or your job requires, consider the following:

  1. Take a deep breath. You’ll likely be better tomorrow.
  2. Vent to an appropriate person. (I don’t recommend venting on a blog, as I’m doing.)
  3. Call for help. Just because it’s beyond your capability doesn’t mean it’s beyond another’s.
  4. Look to Scripture. There are numerous leaders in the Bible who were overwhelmed, and yet God saw them through.
  5. Realize not everyone noticed your leadership shortfall.
  6. Realize most people will give you grace.
  7. Think gray – you don’t have to solve all your leadership issues in one day.
  8. Pray, and be reminded that your identity comes from God – not how well you perform your leadership tasks.
  9. Evaluate. If your shortcomings seem to be consistent in one area, determine what that is, and work on a self-development plan.
  10. Show up the next day, and strive to be the best you can.



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