So, What’s Bad Leadership?

Last night I had dinner with a good friend who is nominated to become an elder. He asked me, “so Tim, what’s bad leadership? I really want to know ’cause I don’t want to be one.”

How would you answer that question? I’ll post my answer in my next post.

He reads the blog, so you have his eye. Can you describe bad leadership?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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

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8 thoughts on “So, What’s Bad Leadership?

  1. You got some pretty terrific wisdom from these guys, but I would say that the primary flaw of all poor spiritual leaders is the failure to be a follower of Christ. Authority is still being given to wealthy, influential men with little or no regard for their spiritual wisdom, maturity or even their desire to be obedient disciples. We give lip service to the spiritual dimension, but we ignore it almost entirely when we begin selecting men to serve. All of us know the number of true pastor/elders in churches that quietly live as true disciples and mentors for others without ever being selected as elders. The truth is, it would ruin them.
    If we believe the Bible at all, we need to take very seriously Peter’s admonition about shepherds will answer to the Great Shepherd one day. That has a Matthew 25 feel to it.

  2. I would say bad leadership is, first, forceful and throwing its authority on those underneath them.
    Bad leadership, second, doesn’t take the time to train and equip others.
    Third, bad leadership tears people down.

  3. The belief that leadership is about making decisions behind closed doors instead of casting the vision, leading by example and motivating the members to action.

  4. A few hits:
    1. Making decisions with a theological framework. Every decision needs to be defensible theologically, and subject to scrutiny.
    2. Looking more intently at resumes, reputations, etc… than giftedness, seeking the Spirit.
    3. Choosing the paths of least resistance/ Lack of courage/faith
    5. Unwillingness to learn, grow, be challenged.
    6. Not understanding that leadership is about GIVING away power, authority, not hoarding/ abusing it.
    7. Poor leaders make decisions in small group and dark corners. Good leaders don’t mind the entire world knowing what they’re thinking and doing.

  5. Leading by demand. I’ve seen this one first hand: “Do what I want or I’ll leave and take my group with me. Can’t do it. (read “They Smell Like Sheep” by Lynn Anderson.I , too, have been asked to Shepherd. This is a good guide.Not a do all tell all, but some good stuff there.

  6. (Here’s a fraction of what I have learned over the past year while working with Tim)
    Examples of bad leadership include:
    Leading by popular opinion.
    Operating out of fear as opposed to faith.
    Promoting a ‘do it yourself’ mentality.
    Saying ‘yes’ to every good idea.
    Not having a clear vision or goal for the future.
    Not communicating that goal or vision.
    Personal agendas trumping God’s will.
    Misplaced talent.
    Letting gossip go unchecked.
    Poor conflict resolution.
    Divided leadership.

  7. i suppose there are a lot of things that would signify poor leadership. i’ll list just the top of my list:
    1. a leader who is not also a follower is a poor leader. we ought to all be following Christ, and we’d all agree on that. but i believe a good leader is also being led. a good mentor is also being mentored. there’s no room in christianity for a leader who won’t humble himself to be a follower.
    2. a leader who expects his followers to do what he himself will not do and/or has not done, is not a good leader. the word ‘dictator’ comes to mind. leading implies that you are also taking part in the activity.
    a guy named ajith fernando has an article in a recent christianity today. in it, he says:
    “The transition from being a speaker in the West to being a leader in Sri Lanka is difficult. As a leader, I am the bond-servant (doulos) of the people I lead (2 Cor. 4:5). This means that my schedule is shaped more by their needs than by mine.”