3 Pitfalls of Leadership

Leadership has many pitfalls.

Leadership has many pitfalls.

Leadership has many pitfalls. One serious problem is the temptation for leaders to become autocratic or to act solely on the basis of their own desires, aspirations and perceptions. Instead, leaders can view their role as one of coordinating the activities of those for whom they are responsible. To do so properly requires constant awareness of being a servant to others. Being a servant entails keeping abreast of the people’s problems, needs and goals, in order to be in a position to stimulate growth and develop useful projects that enhance the quality of life.

The temptations to be autocratic, to take benefits of leadership for granted, or to become bored or depressed are just a few of the hazards of leadership. There are of course many others.

A second pitfall for leaders is the tendency to take the benefits of leadership for granted, forgetting that most people do not share in the blessings and privileges inherent in such a position. One way to counteract this complacent attitude is to visit, from time to time, the various institutions for the less fortunate. For example, no matter what your level of leadership, you might make periodic visits to hospitals, mental institutions, prisons or orphanages. Seeing such suffering can greatly increase your desire to help others. Further, by helping the most unfortunate, you will be helping yourself as well, because an organization, a society or a nation is only as strong as its weakest link.

A third pitfall associated with leadership is the temptation to be bored, unenthusiastic, and even depressed at times. Those who feel this way can lose perspective of their situation, forgetting the extent to which their lives are being guided, controlled and assisted by the Lord, whether they know it or not. Although some may not accept the existence of a God, it is a fact that higher forces do act upon every person’s life. Leaders can overcome some of these negative feelings by reflecting on the many wonderful situations God has arranged for them, in contrast to the experiences of the average person. Such thoughts can bring immediate relief, or even exhilaration, as these many blessings become apparent.
The temptations to be autocratic, to take benefits of leadership for granted, or to become bored or depressed are just a few of the hazards of leadership. There are of course many others. By maintaining a strong connection with divine guidance, and by determined practice, leaders can refuse to give them power and eventually overcome them.

Bhakti-tirtha SwamiAuthor: Bhakti-tirtha Swami was born John E. Favors in a pious, God-fearing family. As a child evangelist he appeared regularly on television. As a young man he was a leader in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights movement. At Princeton University he became president of the student council and also served as the chairman of the Third World Coalition. Although his main degree is in psychology, he has received accolades in many other fields, including politics, African studies, and international law.

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