5 Reasons You May Not Be Leading and What To Do About It

I hear it every time I post on leadership from someone.  They claim they want to be a leader.  Some might even feel they have the skills and gifting of leadership.  They just aren’t leading.

Here are the 5 most common reasons I have heard or observed about why people aren’t leading today:

1.  You don’t have a cause/anything to lead – You say you would lead something if someone gave you an opportunity.

My advice: Find something to lead!  The world is full of problems.  Choose one you are passionate about and start leading.

2.  You are afraid – You fear you may not have what it takes and the challenge is big.

My advice: Leading takes people into the unknown.  It’s natural to be afraid. Be willing to walk by faith.

3.  You gave up – It was hard…you got hurt…perhaps you failed…so you quit.

My advice: Get up and try again.  The best leaders have failed many times, perhaps more times than they have succeeded. (For another thought on recovering from failure, read THIS.)

4.   You  don’t think you know how – You never learned the secrets of leadership.

My advice: Join the school of leadership.  Leaders are all around you.  Watch…listen…read…learn…ask questions.  You can learn skills of leadership if you are teachable.  The best leaders are still learning how to lead.

5.   You think you don’t have authority to lead – You feel you are in a stifling environment.

My advice: Either learn to “lead up”, influencing people that are supposed to lead you or find a place that values your input.  The world is changing and the newest and healthiest environments allow people to grow in leadership.

Are you not leading today, but you think you should be?  What’s your excuse? Do any of these fit your situation?

What other excuses have you seen for people that don’t lead?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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32 thoughts on “5 Reasons You May Not Be Leading and What To Do About It

  1. but what if you're not supposed to be a leader? I'm pretty sure I'm a behind-the-scenes guy, not up front where everyone can see (and I'm very okay with that).

    (of course, some of those things apply to me just for living, so I'm not protesting too much)

    • Absolutely Jack…some people are not to be leaders. The post addresses those who claim they want to be or feel they are capable of being…but are not. We definitely though have to have people that are great followers. Thanks for pointing this out.

  2. Excellent post, Ron! While I'm not in any physical "leadership" position (as an English teacher and a writer), I have opportunities to encourage others to reach higher. Your concise points have encouraged me! :-)

  3. Ron,

    # 5 is probably one of the toughest areas as a leader; either as the head of an orginization or as a leader with in the orginization.

    As the head it is difficult to admit that you're not the smartest person in the orginization (meaning you don't have all the answers yourself) and that there are other leaders with ideas that will boost quality, production, etc.

    But as a leader with in the orginization because you don't want to come across as manipulating or disrespectful.

    Recently I've learned, "if what you have to say is valuable for the person to hear, you must say it in a way that they will hear you or you will have lost your oppertunity to lead." So how do "lead up" with respect and in a way that your leader will hear you, knowing that you are trying to help not manipulate?

  4. Great Stuff Ron!
    #2 is so true and hard to overcome. It is ironic though that some of the best leaders I know are the guys who know that they cannot measure up to the God sized task to which they have been called. Reliance on him, in my experience, has been the only way to begin to progress in this area. Thanks for the post!

  5. I think I need to slow down from my racing about and solidify what God has called me to do, then lead from there. I have little doubt there are things I need to let go of, but they're so comfortable. I'm so used to juggling those balls!

  6. What are some resources you'd recommend regarding 'leading up'? I don't want to just leave for another place, but rather renew the environment where I'm at and see the leaders who are already here begin to flourish and grow again.

  7. Great post Ron. I'd say that #3 is probably the greatest in my life right now. I had so many rapid fire failures in a row that I really fight a spirit of not wanting to go through all of it again. I know I can't succeed at anything unless I try again but it's to the point of not wanting to put out all the effort just to fall flat again. It's easy to say just to get up and try again but like a boxer who's been knocked down for the tenth time in one fight, it's not always easy to get right back up.

  8. I really enjoyed this post, Ron. Number 1 hit me the hardest. I complain about not leading, or not having anything to lead. But you reminded me of the truth–there is plenty of areas for me to lead in. I need to quit making excuses and get active. Thank you.

  9. Thanks Ron. I think that some people fail to lead because the Church has put forth an idea that leaders must be morally perfect or near perfect. I like how "real" you and Chad are from stage and how you admit your faults or failures. It really inspires people at Grace to step up and realize that no one is perfect, and although you may make mistakes, it doesn't exempt you from leading others in some way (family, making disciples, etc).