There are so many ways to be disqualified as a leader, but here are the eight that seem to be the most prevalent.
1. Ignore your family.
How many people have sacrificed their family in the name of being the leader? How many of them were proud of it? Not many. Your family comes first. If you have children, no one else can be mom or dad. No one else can be son or daughter to your parents. If you are married, you made a promise in front of God and everybody. Being a leader is about keeping promises, and the first promise to be kept is to your family.
2. Ignore your spiritual life.
Jesus reminded us that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), and that includes leadership. Let me back up here…you can still lead with your spiritual life in shambles, you just can’t do it well. We need God’s wisdom and strength to lead well. We need to know His direction and heart. Those things are only found through a vibrant relationship with our Creator.
3. Ignore your physical health.
Leading takes energy and effort. It is loaded with stress waiting to be unleashed. Leaders need physical activity to keep a high energy level and to burn off stress. You only have one body, so treat it well. An unhealthy body can get in our way as a leader.
4. Ignore your emotional health.
As a leader you will make hard decisions that impact other people. You need to find others who can listen and let you vent. You also need people who can let you laugh. These are more than friends—these are peers who help you keep your emotions balanced and offer perspective.
5. Quit learning.
The day you quit trying to learn or start believing yourself to be THE expert is the day you no longer are the leader. Someone else will become THE expert, leaving you behind with the rest of the followers.
6. Stop thinking on purpose.
We need time to think about what we are thinking. Processing our thoughts and trying to understand what we think we think gives us clarity so we can lead. The best way to do this is by keeping a journal. Journaling is just another way of having a conversation with ourselves so we can figure out what we really think.
7. Stop investing in other leaders.
Real leaders are concerned about the next generation of leaders. They want to make sure the next generation has a better start by passing on what they learned and are learning.
8. Check out in a crisis or stressful moment.
It’s easy to be the leader when things are going well, but leaders are mostly needed when things are going bad. We have all seen people who checked out when things got rough and then tried to reemerge when things leveled out. They were replaced by the real leader, the person who was there for the hard stuff. And for some reasons, the hard stuff usually happens at 2 A.M.
Some of these actions listed above lead to moral failures or power abuses. We may blame the moral failure for the disqualification, but in reality the real issue was likely one of these eight problems.
What would you add to the list? What other ways have you seen leaders disqualify themselves?
G. Dwayne McCrary is the team leader for Adult and Young Adult group resources at Lifeway, leads two weekly Bible study groups (one for empty-nesters and one for 4-year olds), serves as an adjunct professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and carries 20-plus years of church staff experience. He is married to Lisa (both native Texans), and they have two children and one grandson. Find him on Twitter: @gdwayne.