Tonight was a good night.  One of our friends from out of town was in San Diego, and we had a great dinner and outdoor fire conversation.  (P.S. if you wondered what I cooked, just see this http://wp.me/p2Ab8B-51 the post I did for go-to meals!)

Just after the fire was lit, the conversation was going, the power went out.  It was a total power outage – not that we cared at that time, we were outside and needed no power.  Nevertheless, it struck up lots of conversation, and the main topic we discussed were “leadership power outages.”

It doesn’t matter what you do, whether business, ministry, or in a relationship, you don’t want to have a leadership power outage.  At first, when the outage happens it can be fun.  People are wondering what is going on, candles are being lit, and flashlights brought out.  (Charlie even donned a headlamp!)  As time goes on though, everyone realizes the need to have power reinstated.

As we sat in the dark, with the crackle of the fire, here is what we came up with for the 7 Leadership Power Outages:

1.    Lack of self-awareness

  • This is the leader that is unaware of strengths and weaknesses.  This is leader is unaware when they are out of balance.  This is a leader that does not know what he or she feels on a subject so they say what they think others want to hear.  “Know thyself!”
  • Biggest issue here this leader does not know how they come across to others.

2.    Inability to say, “I’m sorry”

  • Many a leader think apologizing loses credibility, when in fact, it gains it!  Try it sometime – saying I “blew it,” or “I’m sorry.”  People are drawn to a leader who honestly says sorry when they make a mistake.
  • The pride wins out here, and when it does, the leader is unplugged!

3.    Void of Big Vision

  • Flip this one around – people love to follow a leader with a vision.  “Here is where we are going!”  This particular leader also has to have the ability to break it down into a strategic plan.
  • People love to follow the passionate leader who shares a vision – What are your dreams and do others know them?

4.    Cut-off from the Critics

  • If a leader steers clear from critics, sooner or later, they will have a power outage!  We want to stay connected as sometimes our best input comes from our critics.  Learn to embrace your critics!
  • The fact is, some leaders, demonize their critics and tear them apart.  Look for the kernel of truth in what your critics say to you – it’s there, and it’s full of POWER.

5.    Unable to “pull the trigger” on hard things

  • This could be a termination, this could be a hard conversation, this could be putting someone on a Performance Improvement Plan  One thing is sure:  all leaders at some point and time have to “pull the trigger!”
  • What are the 1-2 toughest or hardest tasks before you?  What keeps you from launching forward on them?

6.    Character flaws

  • These are the aspects of a leaders life we do not see.  Here are some of the places a person might struggle, but we would not see – in marriage, in integrity, with alcohol, with pornography, with gossip, and with honesty.
  • If a leader does not face the brutal facts of their own flaws – it could cause leadership implosion.

7.    The “me – my” syndrome

  • Sometimes people get into something because it feeds their ego, or they are helping, to get their own needs met somehow.  No matter who we are, serving others will always have a huge impact.  What is the greater purpose to why you are doing what you are doing?
  • Make sure to have a periodic check here – is it all about you?

We had a great night around the fire telling stories and sharing about different Leadership Power Outages we had all been around, learned from, or witnessed.  All of us confessed where we even saw our own leadership shortfalls.  It was a great encouragement, and at some points, even a good “gut check.”

It’s interesting, about the time we finished the final discussion point, the lights came back on and we could see again!

I pray that you will stay plugged in, see clearly, and have the courage to make any necessary changes.

Eric Scofield

2 thoughts on “7 LEADER POWER OUTAGES

  1. Sco – this is awesome stuff. Did you attend Willow Creek’s leadership summit? I like Bill Hybels point on vision casting. He said prior to casting a vision and showing folks where you want to go, the first step is to build the sense of dissatisfaction, the sense that “we can’t just stay here.”

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