I sat with a new pastor recently trying to hold a church together long enough to help it build again. The previous pastor left town, after a series of bad decisions; some the church is still finding out about each new day.
Sadly, I see it all the time. This pastor suffered from the same temptation any pastor faces. His number one problem in my opinion: He was leading in isolation. He had no one on the inside of his life who knew him well enough to know when something was wrong and could confront him when necessary.
Leading in isolation is displayed in numerous ways to the detriment of the organization. I see 7 clear dangers of leading in isolation:
Moral failure – Without accountability in place, many people will make bad decisions because no one appears to be looking. We are more susceptible to temptation when we are alone.
Burnout – There is an energy we gain from sharing life with other people. When the leader feels he or she is alone the likelihood of burning out, emotional stress and even depression increases.
Leadership Vacuum – The leader is clueless to the real problems in the organization and is fooled into believing everything (including the leader) is wonderful. (I wrote about the leadership vacuum HERE and HERE.)
Control Freak – The leader panics when others question him or her. He or she tries to control every decision.
Limits other people – The leader in isolation fails to communicate, invest, and release, which keeps others leaders from developing on the team.
Limits leader – The isolated leader never reaches his or her full potential as a leader, because he shuts out influences, which would help him or her grow.
Limits organization – In the end, the leader who leads in isolation keeps the organization from being all that it can be. Because the leader sets the bar (read more about that thought HERE), if the leader is in isolation the organization will suffer.
Leaders, are you living in isolation? Do you need to get out of the protective shell you’ve made for yourself? The health and future success of your organization depends on it.
(I realize many pastors of smaller churches feel they have no option, but to lead in isolation. You feel you have no one you can truly trust in your church and you have isolated yourself, for various reasons, from others in the community. As hard as it may seem, and as great as the risk may appear, you must find a few people to share your struggles with to avoid these dangers. If you need help, please email me today.)
What would you add to my list as a danger of leading in isolation?