Leadership Pitfalls: Crashing on Autopilot

Don’t allow yourself or your leadership to exist on autopilot.

Stay awake. Don’t lose sight of the mission. Develop simple and consistent metrics for assessing your missional effectiveness. Remain keenly aware of the needs in your ministry and the world. Remember, these are constantly changing. As they do, our leadership must realign to the new reality. And, don’t allow yourself to waste time by coasting. If we coast, the people and organizations we lead will coast.

Continually re-evaluate your leadership priorities.

Over time, you can and will experience priority creep—unimportant or less important tasks become priorities. This happens for numerous reasons, but it’s the leader’s job to prevent it in his leadership and in the organization he leads. Of course, to do this, you need a clear view and understanding of your purpose and leadership priorities, as well as the purpose and priorities of the organization and people you lead.

Caution: A common reason we waste our leadership investment stems from allowing those who don’t have a clear understanding of the mission or how to accomplish it to set priorities for us. This is common in the church, where people who understand the church least are charged with telling those who understand the church most what to do. Fulfilling impact potential in people’s lives and the church requires you to address and resolve this issue—a job only you as pastor can do.

Be willing to pull the plug on any investment you’re making that’s not advancing the church’s mission.

In a church, there are always things that need to be done, but that doesn’t mean the pastor should be doing them. It’s your job to make those changes. The early leaders of the church did it in Acts 6:1-7. In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul gives us an excellent strategy for doing this successfully.

Finally, though it takes time and can be discouraging, I want to encourage you to keep leading.

The church and the world need you. But make sure you invest your leadership with strategic intentionality.


This article originally appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Outreach magazine.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here