Blinded by Vision
A vision is only as good as the reality it produces. Leaders obsessed with an ideal picture of what “could be” fail to embrace what is. They live on vision fumes. Teammates and followers become frustrated, and trust in the leader vaporizes. It’s reminiscent of Bonhoeffer’s dictum that “he who loves his dream of community more than the community itself destroys the latter.” We could paraphrase: “He who loves his vision more than the people to whom he is casting it, alienates them.” It is easy to idealize a neighborhood community, for example, and ignore its socio-economic realities, relational challenges, stages of life issues, and leadership needs.
Pre-occupied with Structure
When the model becomes the master community life’s a disaster (a cute rhyme but a deep truth). I have witnessed this in too many churches led by model-driven (versus value-led) point leaders and pastors. This happens when we forget a mantra we used at Willow for years: The structure serves the people; the people don’t serve the structure.
Any initiative requires strong leadership from the point person designated to carry out the venture. He or she is the voice for the initiative and the guide to others seeking to build it. But there’s more. A leader who shuns the input of others and fails to consider their collective wisdom and insights is no longer response-able, leaving followers disconnected and devalued.
Focused on “Self”- Improvement
The inclination to use people instead of empowering them kills any community. When a leader makes decisions out of self-interest or self-promotion others lose respect for the leader and passion for the mission fizzles. Group leaders design meetings to meet personal needs or interests; staff members focus mostly on numbers and events; senior leaders make decisions to enhance their platform or promote their materials, often at the expense of the community they are called to shepherd.