Warning signs are everywhere: on medication bottles, road signs, plastic wrapping and cartons. We find them on electrical appliances, and coffee cups from convenience stores and fast food joints. Warning signs are all around, and if we ignore them the consequences can be great. We may recover from some consequences; but others allow no recovery.
For example, if you ignore the warning sign of the stop light and go when it is not your turn, you may end up in a simple fender bender with repairs easily made. Or, you might end up with serious bodily injuries from which you never fully recover. Worse yet, life may be lost by ignoring the stop light.
The sad reality is that many of us ignore warning signs until it’s too late. This does not have to be the case. We can pay better attention.
So what are some warning signs for leaders which, if ignored, signal trouble – or failure – ahead?
A loss of passion for your leadership responsibilities: The things that once excited you about your role as a leader are beginning to feel like a burden. You awaken thinking about your responsibilities and dread showing up at the office – or wherever you are called to be. But this was not always the case. There was a time when the thought of getting to the office was all the caffeine you needed to start your morning.
Personal neglect: You once took good care of yourself, ensuring that you ate well (healthily), exercised regularly, got adequate rest, maintained healthy relationships with family and friends, and paid attention to your relationship with God. But now your desire for some or all of these things is waning. Your life appears to be spiraling out of control. You may be overweight, always feeling tired, you’re unkempt, have difficulty with your relationships, and lack motivation for doing anything about it. Your relationship with God is almost non-existent.
You are easily distracted from your role as a leader: In other words, anything is more exciting than your responsibilities as a leader. In the past it would have been difficult for you to be distracted from your leadership responsibilities, but now your interest is drawn elsewhere – perhaps even by things in which you previously had no interest. These things are usually time consuming but non-productive to your role as a leader.
Perhaps you’re spending more time simply hanging out at the coffee shop, or shopping, golfing or fishing. These activities are no longer momentary diversions for enjoyment and relaxation, but are now a means to escape your responsibilities.
Perhaps you’ve taken up computer gaming, claiming that it’s a form of relaxation, when in truth it is a form of escape from your day-to-day reality.
Lack of accountability: You no longer feel accountable to anyone. You are the leader and everyone answers to you; therefore, you don’t think you are truly accountable to anyone.
Yet you previously allowed yourself to be held accountable to a mentor, close friend, colleagues, or a small group. You were honest and open, allowing others to pour into your life. But lately, you find yourself being a loner.
The lack of accountability as a leader is the surest path to failure. In our own heads, we do nothing but deceive ourselves. We must be accountable to others if we want to avoid failure.
Did any WARNING signs flash DANGER as you read? Perhaps not. But perhaps you saw a yellow caution light, or even a bold, red flashing STOP sign. If you saw a danger sign, please heed the warning, consider your choices and reach out to someone you can trust for help.
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.