Preventing the Leader's Crash

Preventing the Leader's Crash
Thomas Thompson
April 12, 2022
min read

When a leader crashes, the fallout is immense.  

A moral failure at the helm impacts not only the leader, but their family, their staff, their Board, their market value, their congregation, and their organization’s brand and reputation.

And for a Christian Leader, sadly, this often leads to a “canceling,” where they quickly find themselves on the outside of the community they led, as well as the Christian community at large (This is one reason why the Leader’s health is one of the Three Questions A Board Should Ask Three Times a Year).

When a leader most needs community, they often find themselves isolated and alone.

And while their post-failure world is characterized by isolation, tragically, it is that same isolation that contributes to the crash in the FIRST place.

My coaching of leaders is driven by the proven experience that most leaders have no one outside their organization to help them navigate.

It is the nature of the beast of leadership that the leader feels he or she has no one to confide in, no one to trust in, no one to be safe with.

It’s lonely at the top.

How does isolation play a part in a moral failure?

Isolation prevents a leader from exploring where they are most vulnerable, most at risk, where all failure on the outside begins:

The heart of a leader.

There is a reason that when ever Jesus talked about moral failures, he always went to the heart and mind.

When our heart is not investigated, exposed, and even confronted, we can start down an ugly road.

It is a road that may start with the high ideal of serving others, but can lead to the narrow road of self-fulfillment.  Where the leader can begin to justify all kinds of behavior.

Robert Clinton, the guru of Finishing Well, spent years studying cases where leaders started strong, but failed to finish well.  He identified 6 barriers to Leaders Finishing Well:

  1. Barrier 1. FINANCES—Their Use and Abuse
  2. Barrier 2. POWER – Its Abuse
  3. Barrier 3. PRIDE – Which Leads to Downfall
  4. Barrier 4. SEX – Illicit Relationships
  5. Barrier 5. FAMILY – Critical Issues
  6. Barrier 6. PLATEAUING (Not pursuing growth)

And I believe that the greatest problem in tackling these barriers is a leader’s ISOLATION.  

Who is safe for YOU to open your heart up about these issues?

Who is asking you the RIGHT questions?

Who prying–with CURIOUS LOVE –about your leader’s heart?

If you are not regularly engaged to a community or person where your heart is exposed, you are headed down a dangerous road.

Here are a few questions I ask clients I work with to surface some of these heart issues:

  • What secrets are you keeping?
  • What is happening in your world that your spouse/partner doesn’t know about?
  • If an enemy were to take you out through one of these 6 areas, how would they do it?
  • How are you leading yourself well in these 6 areas?
  • How do you KNOW you are leading yourself well in these 6 areas?
  • Who outside your organization are you safe to unpack your leader’s heart with?

Getting canceled after a moral crash is rough.  And better than after care is prevention.  Identifying the barriers that WILL challenge your leadership and engaging community with your heart are key tactics for finishing well.

Could I serve as a safe place for you to start down the road towards finishing well?  Reach out to me HERE.

Thomas helps leaders navigate what’s next in their lives, leadership, and teams.  If he can serve you in this, reach out to him HERE.

Photo by Vinicius Marques on Unsplash

I founded Thompson Leadership to come alongside leaders like you. Together, we will unpack your unique leadership, unearth your biggest challenge, and create an action plan to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
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