7 Of My Biggest Frustrations as a Leader

A few weeks ago, someone asked me what my “biggest frustration” is as a leader. As I thought about it, I have to be honest, I have lots. That may point to another area of struggle for me personally…that I’m seldom satisfied…with me or others. In many ways I am still learning the secret of being content, but I like continual improvement and think there is usually room to get better in all areas of our life. I think that is true in leadership too.

But, the question was my “biggest frustration”, so I opened an Evernote file, titled it “Biggest Frustrations” (since I knew I had more than one) and decided to record some of my actual frustrations over the next few weeks. Some of these are mine from observing people directly and some are from the stories my readers share with me each day. When I reached seven, based on my obvious past love of the number seven, I figured it was time to share my findings.

Here are 7 of my biggest frustrations as a leader:

Pettiness – It bothers me in leadership to argue over things that really, in the large scheme of things, just don’t matter. When it comes to arguing, I can almost always find issues of bigger significance. (If you consider it this way…it may make a case….even a Biblical case…not to even argue.)

Selfishness – I get frustrated when people have to have things “their way”. It destroys any hope of a healthy team when people are only thinking of their personal wishes. (Doesn’t sound very Biblical to me either.)

Rudeness – The way you talk to someone, always determines the way they respond. To me, there is no place for disrespect in an organization or on a team or in any relationship, for that matter. This should be especially true in churches. Even when we don’t agree with one another, we can address one another in kindness. (Remember, kindness is a fruit of the spirit.)

Narrow-mindedness – When someone can’t think beyond the way it’s always been done, it limits the organization from achieving all it could achieve. There are issues…Biblical, foundational, value-driven issues…where narrow-mindedness is a positive, but in the mode of operation, of the way we get things done, or how we accomplish our God-given vision, I think change is not only good…it’s vital for continued growth.

Stubbornness – Equally frustrating, is when people are unwilling to change. When a person refuses to accept what’s best for the good of everyone, and it’s not a Biblical issue, their stubbornness only hurts the organization (and frustrates the leader. :) )

Unforgiveness – When someone has been injured, they have a choice. They can choose to hold a grudge or they can choose to forgive. Holding a grudge keeps the injury alive. Forgiving opens the door for healing. (Doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me.)

Recklessness – It is frustrating to observe people who seemingly have no regard for other people. They make decisions without the consideration of others. They say things without thinking how they hurt. They use their influence to disrupt an organization’s progress, rather than enhance it. They derail progress with a disregard for what’s best in favor of what’s personal to them. It’s frustrating.

There is my list. If I kept the Evernote file open, I might find some more. Of course, you can help too.

What are your biggest frustrations in leadership?

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

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20 thoughts on “7 Of My Biggest Frustrations as a Leader

  1. What I can't understand is that I have been accused, as a minster, by others in leadership of being of everyone of these things. I push for change and when they won't budge, I'm accused of trying to get my way. When I voice my concern or opinion, I'm accused of being stubborn and rude (most of the time it's attributed to my younger age). I only want to see what's best done where I'm at and I want to see people grow and serve, and yet I'm the one accused of pushing "my way"…..I stay confused.

    • My gut says its either 1)In your approach 2)The DNA of the organization or 3)A bad leader on the receiving end.Figuring out which one will make the difference and determine what you can control and which you can't.

  2. Someone already mentioned lack of commitment. But along that same line, I am frustrated by people (especially volunteers!) who make a commitment and fail to follow through with their commitment. The leader is always left holding the bag.

  3. I like Dave Miller's comment above and your response. My additions and personal frustrations as a leader: (1) Silo-mentality – similar to "selfishness", (2) Lack of passion, excitement & energy, and (3) prickliness and lack of self-awareness/relational intelligence.

    • Contentiousness. When people would rather compete than cooperate. There needs to be a balance between the two. Unfortunately, the cooperators need to become contentious to push back against the contentious. Therefore, the contentious are too often seen as better leaders because of their willingness to put down the cooperators. The reason we have contentiousness is because people think too highly of their own opinions.

  4. I would add selfishness. These are the folks who make everything about them. From their personal lives to every task they are asked to do it is always and only about what works for them.

  5. Excellent list, Ron. I would add lack of clarity to it. I have found no greater source of frustration for leaders in the middle, than lack of clarity from the top of the organization.__Thanks!