How to spot bad leadership

Praise the Lord Saints.

This week I want to start out by giving my friends at Gardens Laundromat located on the corner of Central Avenue and 36th Street. They are right across from Burger King and Church’s.

Unbelievable customer service, friendliness and just a warm over feeling like you ain’t even doing a back-breaking chore.

I’m hooked from the cash card and no more fumbling to find quarters, cool AC, two TVs and free Wi-Fi. There is always a machine open or they will find you one. Nothing but a pleasure.

With this week’s topic, I decided to put the hard hitting words of wisdom in the hands of someone else. I read these from time to time and felt this one was worth me posting. Some of the wording I would have said differently but the overall feelings were on point so I chose not to change a word.

I have run into so many of these “leaders” and the sad reality is they don’t have a clue they are this way or they don’t care. Some people like to have zombie robots to control their every thought and movement and they don’t realize that they are essentially part of the stagnation that has plagued the organization and this mindset of I will give you an opinion if you want one is so “masta/slave” that it will choke the life out of everyone involved unless they wake up and change their ways. Some folks are so desperate to just belong to something that they will sit there and accept this bad form of leadership and go down with the ship. I cannot and will not. Enjoy, grow, learn, lead.

7 Warning Signs You May Be a Controlling Leader

By Ron Edmondson

I regularly talk to young leaders through my blog, and many of them feel they are working for a controlling leader.

In a recent post, I talked about the three results of controlling leadership.

In full disclosure, one of my top strengths on the StrengthsFinder assessment is COMMAND. I’ll take over if no one else in the room will—so some of the young leaders on my team may have felt that way about me at times. I have to discipline myself not to be a controlling leader.

But it’s a value for me personally not to be one, so I consistently try to evaluate. (And I’ve let teams I lead evaluate me.) And also granted, as I’ve posted previously, I believe there are some things a leader needs to control—especially early in their leadership. For example, I have controlled (or micromanaged) the hiring of key staff members during my beginning years of church revitalization. We are changing a culture. I am building a team—one I don’t have to control. And that’s worked well so far.

The odd thing I find is that many controlling leaders never really know they are one. They may actually even believe they are being good leaders—making sure things go well for the organization.

As I’ve pointed out in previous posts about this issue, controlling leaders are ever present in the church.

So, maybe if you’re reading this, you are still wondering if you might be a controlling leader. Or if you work for one.

Here are seven warning signs that you may be a controlling leader:

  1. Your team struggles to share new ideas. Are people sheepish around you when they have an idea that may be different from yours? Do they start apologizing prior to approaching you with a new idea? Do they appear timid, fearful, even reluctant to share a thought? This may be on them—it might be on you, leader.

  2. You think you’re wonderful. I don’t mean this to be funny. When a leader is in the control position, because of their own confidence, they can often feel everyone approves of all they are doing. A controlling leader may not really know how people feel about them. They assume everyone approves of their leadership.

  3. You always know you’re right. Because you are—right? Seriously, if you never question your own judgment—if you never even think you need to get others’ opinions on your ideas—you might be a controlling leader.

  4. You control information. Do you enjoy keeping others with less information than you have? Do you like to be in the power position—if information is power? (And it is.) If you control the information, you’ll almost always control what is done with the information. And you just might be a controlling leader.

  5. You are part of every decision. Do you think you should be involved in making all the decisions your church or organization makes? Seriously. Be honest. A controlling leader can’t stand when they weren’t part of making the decision—especially if it proves to be a good one—or if people start getting credit for something in which they had no part. If you still can’t decide if you’re a controlling leader, use that as a scenario and judge for yourself how you would feel: The decision is made. It’s genius. Everyone applauds. You’re on the sidelines.

  6. You can’t let go of the reins. Do you fear others being in control of a project? Does it make you nervous? Do you feel the need to continually step back in and check on things? I’m not suggesting a leader delegates and disappears. That’s not good leadership either. But if you can never let someone truly be the primary leader of a task, you might be a controlling leader.

  7. You ARE the final authority—on every decision. Think for just a minute about the decisions made in the organization in the last year—or even the last month. Did you have to sign off on all of them? Were there any significant decisions made that you weren’t a part of making? Again, be honest.

Till next week,

God Bless and keep Us All.

Rev. Dr. Rob Harrison, Ph.D. – pastorrobharrison@gmail.com, @drrobharrison.
Chaplain – Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Pinellas
The Apostolic Open Door Church of God & True Holiness – 2800 41st Ave. N, St. Pete
PSFEC Board Member | DJJ Chaplain Circuit 6
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