Avoiding the Pitfalls of Leadership

Many aspire to be in leadership. Several get to experience it. Few actually survive it. Is it realistic to think that you can be one of the leaders who lasts? I think so, but it won’t be easy and it won’t come naturally.

via John Haslam @ Flickr Creative Commons

via John Haslam @ Flickr Creative Commons

Few are actually close enough to know the struggles that we as leaders face. We juggle an endless list of responsibilities. We wrestle with decisions and how each one affects our companies and it’s employees. We worry about ethics, reputations, morale, and the future.

Leadership is never without stress. The great leaders simply learn how to manage it. The others become consumed by it. As a result of this stress, most of us will struggle with one, if not all of the following temptations:

1) The Pride of Life. This is the temptation to be. You want to BE noticed, to BE admired, to BE envied. You’ll find yourself not wanting to admit mistakes, to fear for your reputation, and making decisions based on what others think.

2) The Lust of the Flesh. This is the temptation to feel. After constantly pouring yourself out to others, you’ll be empty. At some point you’ll want to feel good. There are plenty of things that will deceitfully promise you pleasure, but trouble awaits you on the other side.

3) The Lust of the Eyes. This is the temptation to have. You see all of these things and you want them. You begin to compare yourself to the success of others, to what they have, etc. You’ll be tempted to use your position and gifts to advance yourself. Others will begin to take the back burner so you can obtain what others have and what they wish they had.

Leadership has many highs, but it’s lows are multiplied exponentially. Trouble will certainly come. When it comes, we can let it crush us, or craft us. If allowed, it can even mold our character.

Character comes through pain, through suffering, through criticism, through difficulty. It doesn’t come through popularity and ease and getting your way every time. – Rick Warren

So how do we battle these pitfalls of leadership? It won’t be easy, but here’s how…

1) Practice Integrity. It’s much more than just being honest. It means living your life as a whole instead of compartmentalized. It means you live your life the same way whether in the privacy of your home or in the public’s eye.

2) Practice Humility. This is the antidote to the pride of life. It requires that you understand that you have great value, but are still deeply flawed. Humility isn’t denying your strengths, but being aware of your weaknesses.

3) Practice Generosity. Learning to be generous is the only antidote to the lust of the eyes. Instead of working to fulfill your own desires, work so that you can fulfill the desires of others. Be the greatest giver that you know. You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.

To hear more on how to avoid temptation associated with passion, position, possession, sex, salary, and status, listed to this podcast by Rick Warren. It’s about an hour long, but will change your life.

Question: Which of these temptations do you face the most? Which of these practices are you going to start implementing today?

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