Leading people is tricky. And we all have tendencies toward making mistakes even when we try to lead well. Take a moment and consider these questions as they pertain to those who count on you for leadership (think: LifeGroup members, kids, spouses, relatives, employees, etc.). Do you prefer to control every detail so you can be sure things are done right? Do you think it’s always important to point out every flaw you find? Do you think avoiding confrontation is a sure path to peace? Are you tempted to rescue those around you to avoid any hint of failure? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be struggling with what I call the four dark sides of development: Controlling, Critical, Avoiding, and Rescuing.
In this episode of my leadership podcast, I go into detail about four types of developers’ dark sides. Today, I want to look a little closer at avoiding leaders because avoiding confrontation might feel good in the moment, but it leads to bigger problems later.
An avoiding leader is one who prefers not to get involved in situations involving confrontation. Now, that’s not always a problem. Sometimes people need to work things out on their own, but when a leader continually avoids or is afraid to confront issues, it becomes a major problem. Why? Because you can’t correct what you’re unwilling to confront.
When you learn how to lovingly challenge, correct, and confront problematic behaviors, you show the people you care about that you actually care about them. If you sit back and hope problems will work themselves out, you’ll be disappointed to learn they generally don’t. While you’re waiting, those who are counting on you for leadership can interpret your silence as lack of caring. When you’re perceived as someone who doesn’t really care about resolving issues, the people who look to you for leadership become disengaged. If you won’t deal with a problematic behavior head on, those around you will begin to wonder where they stand, too. Over time, avoiding confrontation only multiplies the problems you need to confront.
What’s the biggest problem in your life you tend to avoid? What issue do you need to address head-on? In what area do you need to ask God for guidance today?