Our world is flawed. Ever since Adam and Eve took a bite out of that scrumptious apple, our lives changed.
With that fateful bite, mistakes were brought into the world. And everyone will make a mistake.
However, as leaders, mistakes can be much more costly to us. The Bible tells us that leaders are held to a higher standard.
When a leader falls, the impact of our mistakes go much further than if they were made by a lay-person.
You never realize how far your failures as a leader will reach until you’ve experienced a failure or a leader you know experiences failure. Walking side-by-side, you see the devastation that is left when leaders make poor choices.
How Far Leadership Failure Reaches
Seeing a leader I greatly respected choose to walk in moral failure has been devastating. Not only for myself but for the many people he’s led and influenced through his life.
I’ve also seen leaders such as Jim Bakker, Bob Coy, and Ted Haggard make bad leadership decisions. Once these failures were revealed, people began to feel the effects.
It’s not limited to superstar leaders or the leader at a local church, Christian leaders can fail at any level and the damage is deafening.
These failures don’t impact those directly involved with the failure. Leadership failure reaches:
Friends, family, and loved ones: You may think this is common sense but many people forget how hurt the friends, family, and loved ones of failed leaders are. Feelings of betrayal creep in. Being able to trust other leaders becomes difficult. How they view the world changes.
People they’ve previously led: Leaders who have led for many years and failed have left a long legacy of good. They’ve led many people throughout the years. Many they haven’t interacted with since they’ve left the organization or ministry.
However, a leader’s failure will cause doubt to enter into the lives of former followers. They will wonder if what was taught was true. They will wonder why they couldn’t see this coming. They will wonder who to believe in the future.
The organization as a whole: This is another area that is often overlooked during leadership failure. The focus is on the leader and the actions that were taken. Not on the organization.
Yet the organization suffers greatly.
New leaders have to be brought on board quickly. Those in support positions wonder how their roles will be impacted. The reputation of the organization may even take a hit.
All because a leader choose to make bad choices.
The general public: The world loves to hear of a leader failing. There’s so many juicy tidbits involved and people want to hear the gory details.
News organizations will gobble up failures and spit it back out to the public.
While the leader may not have had a direct impact on the lives of those hearing the news, the general public begins to form opinions on the situation and leaders in general.
When a leader fails, the failure changes the view of those who hear the news, whether or not they were directly involved or not.
Leaders, we’ve got to be careful with the choices we make. Our choices impact more than ourselves. Our choice, especially our bad choices, have the possibility of impacting the whole world.
Stand strong in your leadership. Create roadblocks in areas you may stumble. Find someone to stand next to you so you don’t have the temptation to fail.
With acute awareness, you can decrease the chance you will fail. But, in the end, the choice is yours.
Just know that your failure has a far flung impact.
Question: How are you safeguarding yourself in leadership? How can other leaders avoid having a major mistake derail their leadership? I want to hear your suggestions in the comment section below.
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