by Chip Hinds

My intention is to become a vibrant leader as a vibrant member of a vibrant church. To do this requires the practice of the best leadership principles. I’ve often learned the most important leadership principles through the experience of doing the wrong things. I’d like to share some of those lessons I’ve learned the hard way. So, if you want to reduce your leadership impact, here are twelve ways to do it.[ref]Just for the sake of clarity: this list outlines what NOT to do. It is a parody of how a vibrant 21st Christian should really lead. C. S. Lewis employs a similar tactic in his popular work The Screwtape Letters.[/ref]

To reduce your leadership impact:

  1. The number one key to reducing your leadership is to keep all ministry partners (team members) isolated and focused on their specific responsibility as you define it. That way you can micromanage every aspect of each of your followers’ ministries. Don’t let those following you network with each other. They might compare notes and find out how limited your leadership really is.
  2. Don’t let it bother you that your leadership style results in your being overworked, under-appreciated, and taken for granted. Of course, it will bother you, but you will make up for that by feeling sorry for your poor mistreated self.
  3. Don’t think you ever need to change what you are doing. If you change it might mean you don’t get to stay where you are right now. Wouldn’t that be a tragedy?
  4. Always focus on details, rules, regulations, and fine points without painting the picture of how those points are relevant to accomplishing the grand vision.
  5. Better yet, never let your ministry partners see the end result of their ministry. Instead keep them focused on their singular contributions. Like assembly line workers, tell them if they do even one point incorrectly it will hurt everyone even though they cannot see everyone. Keep them isolated and keep the joy of the fruits of their labors all to yourself or shared with a select few. Above all, let them know their failure is unforgivable and would be detrimental to everyone else. Let them feel the weight of their ministry without the reward of its sweetness.
  6. Don’t celebrate a finished work or victory along the way because you never know what might go wrong at any minute and you would look so foolish celebrating at a time something goes wrong.
  7. Stop giving recognition and expressions of gratitude to ministry partners. If it must be done, do it in such a generalized fashion it is obvious you are not really interested in the contribution your ministry partner has made.
  8. Don’t acknowledge someone’s idea as being better than your own. Let them know you have your position of authority because you are the brightest and best and they could never measure up to such a heavy requirement.
  9. Don’t let them know it’s only by the grace of God that you are where you are. Let them know it is because you are brilliant and see things they cannot possibly understand. That way when they see you do stupid things, they will know it is their inexperience and lack of understanding and not your stupidity at all.
  10. Don’t invite them to offer constructive criticism or ideas for improving ministry. If they had that skill set they would be in your position. And if, God forbid, they should ever offer a criticism or idea that is better than yours, make absolutely certain it never sees the light of day. Bury it, never acknowledge it, and destroy the ministry partner if necessary because they are a threat to your leadership.
  11. Admit you are God’s chosen leader and it is you whom He has ordained to appoint all others to their ministry roles. If you let those following you know they too are ordained by God as leaders they might mistakenly get the idea He appointed them to ordain your role. Wouldn’t that be a travesty?
  12. One more key point is to always react in the same way towards a follower that they are acting towards you. In other words, don’t find out what might be causing them to act out the way they are. Your time is far too valuable. Just be like them so they can see themselves in the mirror of your face. Never mind there might be something of significance or traumatic in their lives that caused the misbehavior. Let them have the just consequence of their conduct.

Reverse for positive results.

Lest it be forgotten, the above list is only for leaders who want to reduce their leadership. However, for those who desire to increase their leadership, most of the above principles can be reversed with positive results. The above list was offered to help the great leader recognize when he or she has followed one or more of these wrong principles so it can be quickly recognized and corrected.

To increase your leadership impact…

The positive way of summarizing this into principles that will increase our leadership impact is:

  1. Give recognition and expressions of gratitude to ministry partners. Do it promptly and in proximity to the action. Be specific about what you appreciate and it will likely be repeated over and over.
  2. Better yet, join them in giving thanks to God for providing them and their ministry to the efforts of the vision and goals. Help them see the divine purpose and God’s gratitude for what they are doing.

Your leadership is important to God or He would not have called and ordained you as a leader. Make the most of the opportunity He has given you to be fruitful in the vine which is Jesus Christ. The rewards are both now and unimaginably in another age yet to come.