5 Ways to Avoid the Leadership Vacuum


Ron Edmondson offers 5 ways to avoid a leadership vacuum.

Many leaders find themselves in a leadership vacuum. This is not due to an absence of leaders, although it's a problem in most organizations; rather, it's a failure on behalf of existing leaders to know the true health of their organization and personal leadership.

I realize that I am not immune from this vacuum. In fact, I’m possibly more susceptible than most leaders. It is something I am conscious of, however, and so I have tried to create a system that opens my leadership to enough feedback to ward against the leadership vacuum.

Here’s the steps I take:

  1. Solicit feedback – I ask tons of questions. I seek periodic wisdom through emails and in person with leaders from different ministries within the church.This year, I started having additional bi-monthly follow up meetings with staff that report directly to me. I also allow the staff to evaluate me annually.
  2. Accept input from others – I believe it’s important for leaders to give up their right to control the outcome. Once I delegate, I try to release control and get out of the way. I also believe in building a relationship with our teams that extends beyond work.  When people know more of me personally, they are more likely to share their true heart.  (That’s a challenge for an introvert, BTW.)
  3. Evaluate myself – I am consistently reviewing my own plans. I try to ask myself hard questions.
  4. Allow accountability – I try to allow people in my life that feel the freedom to challenge me. Some of those are on my staff, some are friends, and some are in my immediate family.  Also, I think it is important that I be one of the team, not only the leader of a team. At any given time, I may need to submit to the leadership of someone that may actually report to me, but has more experience in an area than I have.
  5. Stay open to and accept change – I know that if I am rigid on having things my way, eventually I will stall the process of growth that God is doing through other people.

Please understand, I am not perfect—and our staff would completely agree with that statement—but I am aware of the need to intentionally avoid the leadership vacuum. Your situation will be different from mine, so you will need to create your own system, but the point is that you need a system. Don’t fall into the trap of the leadership vacuum.

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