Failure is a part of life and certainly a part of being a leader.  I don’t know of a single leader that has never been forced to admit failure.  Before I outline some of the most common reasons I believe leaders fail let me cover a few things.  First like all leaders I fail.  In fact some of the things I will discuss in this post come from my own personal experiences with failure.  Second my leadership roles in life have been vast, and diverse.  In high school I was a student leader in many roles, in college I lead Bible studies, student organizations, and mission trips. In my early twenty’s I was a manager for a major retailer for a short time, as well as at another secular institution.  The majority of my leadership roles however have been inside of the Church and economy of God.  Subsequently most of my comments below will relate primarily to those who lead inside the church.  However as you will see many of the things discussed relate to any leader as well.  So why do leaders fail?

  1. They fail to listen– Most leaders are generally in positions of authority where people listen to them.  Over the years many leaders become poor listeners.  They get so use to being listened to they forget that it is equally import to listen.  When a leader becomes a poor listener, they are certain to fail.
  2. They fail to pray– Many leaders become overwhelmed by the distractions of leadership.  There are endless meetings, obligations, sermons and speeches to prepare, administrative demands, counseling sessions, and the list goes on.  While attempting to accomplish all the necessary tasks many forsake their time of prayer.  When prayer decreases, the opportunity for failure increases.
  3. They fail to plan– Due to business, and the demands previously mentioned above many times leaders fail to properly prepare and plan as well.  They start going to meetings unprepared.  They are unprepared to preach on Sunday morning.  Poor planning and preparation always eventually leads to failure.
  4. They fail to rest– The body, mind, and spirit of all humans require rest.  God instituted something called the Sabbath for a reason, so we would make rest and worship both a priority in our lives.  As leaders we are driven, motivated, people.  As leaders in the church while others rest and worship on Sunday’s we work.  There never seems to be time to rest for leaders, there is simply always more to do.  However when we fail to rest, it will only be a matter of time before we fail.  We are better leaders when we are properly rested as God intends. Make time to rest!
  5. They fail to delegate– If I had a nickel for every time I said “its just easier to do it myself” in my mind, I would be a rich man.  Many times it is both faster and easier to just do it yourself.  Taking time to teach and delegate is always costly on the front end.  However as those we teach take over the tasks, we become more effective leaders.  Take time to delegate, failure to do so, will always lead to a leadership catastrophe.

I will post five additional reasons leaders fail next Monday.  In the mean time consider this question.  Is your own leadership role at risk because you fail to listen, pray, plan, rest, or delegate?  If so what will you do about it?