Self Destructive Leaders

May 13, 2010

How can somebody so smart do something so dumb?

Have you ever asked yourself that question after reading or hearing of the fall of another leader?  Why do so many leaders self destruct?

The foundational issue in my opinion is when their lives are centered upon something else other than Christ – usually themselves.

Tim Elmore in his blog, Growing Leaders, says that a key issue is not IQ, but EQ – emotional intelligence. Tim defines EQ as:

“. . . the sum total of a leader’s:

1.    Self-awareness
2.    Self-management
3.    Social awareness
4.    Relationship management”

Following are some of Tim’s examples of a leader’s tools of self-destruction:

“1. Projecting their self-worth.

There are few things more unappetizing than a leader who has to constantly talk about how important they are.

2. Clinging to a scarcity perspective.

The leader cannot see abundance up ahead. Instead they see lack. Things are not getting better, they’re getting worse and might just run out. If things are getting better, the leader still fears the worst is ahead. This is not mere conservatism. This is fear and insecurity

3. Possessing a controlling spirit.

Often, insecure leaders react to their inward desperation with control. They feel if they can control people, they’ll maintain absolute authority. They want to control consequences and outcomes.

4. Comparing themselves to others obsessively.

When a leader has a low EQ, they naturally tend to look around them; they look outward rather than inward (at their own natural strengths and style) or upward (to their Creator for their sense of identity). They become consumed with comparing their own traits or achievements to those of other leaders.

5. Possessing self-imposed blindness.

This one is huge. All leaders have blind spots. Like in a car, blind spots happen not so much because of stupidity but position. The driver can’t see certain things. Sadly, self-destructive leaders refuse help.

What High EQ Does for Leaders

There are instances when people will follow a leader with a lesser capacity to lead if that leader is emotionally secure. When a leader is secure, they are:

1.    Free to acknowledge the superiority of other’s strengths.
2.    Free to be transparent and admit their own shortcomings.
3.    Free to be empowering with team members so they can perform.
4.    Free to create an environment and culture where there are no “lids.”

The good news is, while IQ remains mostly unchanged throughout our lives, EQ can mature. May you become a leader that other great leaders want to follow.”

This is a post well worth reading in its entirety. Click here to read it.

Dave Kraft quotes a stat in his book, Leaders Who Last, that only 30% of Christian leaders finish well.  Prayerfully we can see this percentage change dramatically for the good in the future.

Question – are you dealing with any of these self-destructive behaviors?

BG