7 examples of shallow leadership

May 8th, 2015

Growing in our leadership abilities — including growing in the knowledge of leadership and the relational aspect of leadership — should be a goal for every leader.

Sadly, many leaders settle for status quo leadership rather than stretching themselves to continually improve. They remain oblivious to the real health of their leadership and the organizations they lead. They may get by — people may say things are “okay” — but it isn’t excellent.

I call it shallow leadership.

Perhaps you’ve seen this before. Maybe you’ve been guilty of providing shallow leadership. For a season, at least. I certainly have.

Still wondering what shallow leadership looks like?

Here are seven characteristics:

Thinking your idea will be everyone’s idea. You assume everyone is on the same page. You think everyone thinks like you. You stop asking questions of your team. You stop evaluating.

Believing that your way is the only way. You’re the leader — you must be right. You’ve had some success. It went to your head a little. So, you’ve become headstrong. You’re controlling. You make every decision. You never delegate.

Assuming you already know the answer. You think you’ve done it long enough to see it all. You quit learning. You stop reading. You never meet with other leaders anymore.

Pretending to care when really you don’t. You have grown cold in your passion. You may speak the vision but they’re just words to you now. You go through the motions. You’re drawing a paycheck. But, truth be known, you’d rather be anywhere than here right now.

Giving the response that makes you most popular. You like to be liked. You never make the hard decisions. You refuse to challenge. You avoid conflict. You run from complainers. You ignore the real problems.

Refusing to make a decision. You had a setback. Things didn’t go as planned. You’ve grown scared. You’re overwhelmed. You refuse to walk by faith. Your team won’t move forward because you won’t move forward.

Ignoring the warning signs of poor health. Momentum may be suffering. Things may not be “awesome” anymore. You look the other way. Your soul is empty. You may be unhealthy. The team may be unhealthy. You refuse to see it.

We never achieve best with shallow leadership. The first step is to admit.

Have you seen shallow leadership before? What would you add to my list?


Ron Edmondson blogs at RonEdmondson.com.

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