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Episode 52 - 16 Sep 2019

Five More Bad Habits of Leaders

In this episode, Adam and John return to the topic of leadership habits. Listen in for practical ways to improve your leadership and refine your bad habits. Find the show notes at

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Episode Summary


Adam and John are discussing bad leadership habits. The share their observations, experiences, and encouragements for leaders. When processing though these bad habits, make sure to ask yourself questions and access whether or not they apply to you.

5 Bad Leadership Habits

  • Being a bottleneck (01:52)
  • Forgetting those working for you have career aspirations too (6:39)
  • Underestimating how long things take to get done. (13:40)
  • Clinging to the past (19:50)
  • Forgetting to express gratitude (25:44)

Being a bottleneck

Working for someone who constantly delays decision making can be frustrating. If you are a leader, ask yourself if your lack of decision making is slowing things down. Assess whether you've created a culture where it is okay if tasks pile up on one person's desk (even if that desk may be yours). It may help to attempt making a majority of small decisions in real time. If you are able to give people immediate answers, and further deliberation isn't necessary, then consider doing so. Have the courage to ask if you are becoming a bottleneck.

Forgetting those working for you have career aspirations too

Try to ask those you lead where they want to be in 5 years. It should be your goal to help them move in that direction and take faithful next steps. This helps remind people that they are not stuck and that you as a team are moving somewhere. Remember that the most significant way you will contribute to the mission might not be something you do but rather someone you develop. You want those under you to feel as if they have people on their team and helping them achieve their goals.

Underestimating how long things take to get done

If it's not something you are good at, you probably have no clue how long that something takes. Generally, the higher up in an organization you are, the less time you assume a task will take. However, if you are towards the bottom of an organization, you often over-estimate the time a task will take. In actuality, the time is usually somewhere in the middle. It is the leader's job to create informed and reasonable deadlines. If you are being handed a lot of tasks, make sure to ask questions and have conversations about how long things are going to take. Do you feel you have a good idea of how long things take to accomplish?

Clinging to the past

If you are new to a position, there will be a temptation to blame the person previously in that position for anything wrong. A leader should be the person finding solutions not pointing out problems. Additionally, leaders should be marked both by what they have accomplished in the past and what they are accomplishing right now. Doing be defined by what you used to do. Remember to focus on what you are currently doing. There should always be something else on the horizon. However, this needs to be balanced with a healthy celebration of what has happened. Don't get too comfortable and remember there is still work to be done.

Forgetting to express gratitude

Sometimes we just forget to express gratitude and thank people. Gratitude that goes unexpressed really does communicate ingratitude. There has never been a leader who gets in trouble for being too grateful. If this isn't a regular part of your job, then that is a bad habit. When you express gratitude, don't just use a polite "thank you." Be specific when you are saying thanks. Mention exactly what it was that made a difference. This communicates more clearly how their work impacted you and the mission.

Check out the first installment of Five Bad Leadership Habits!

Hosted By
John mcgee 20200223 wcc headhshots 001447
John McGee

Sr. Director of Watermark Resources

A tarnow
Adam Tarnow

Cohost of Church Leadership Podcast