Published: 1 year ago

Are You Guilty of a Leadership Eclipse?

Well of course this is an eclipse post.

It’s August 21, 2017…the day when millions of Americans have gone eclipse-crazy. Sometime today (2:44:13 PM Eastern at the Summit offices), we’ll plunge into partial or complete darkness as the moon comes between the earth and the sun, blocking the sun’s light. (And if you haven’t picked up your eclipse glasses yet, enjoy reading this article, because it’s sadly one of the last things you’ll ever see.)

A solar eclipse is fascinating to me, because the sun is 400 times larger than the moon, yet the moon completely blocks the sun’s light for a time. It’s as if the moon waits in the shadows for the perfect chance to…ahem…find his place in the sun. (#sunpunsarefun)

And yet, all of the eclipsapalooza news has me thinking about a phenomenon that happens much more often, and that’s a leadership eclipse. Thats when we as leaders put ourselves in the path of those who serve underneath us, eclipsing their gifts and blocking their influence. Even as I write this post, I can think of many times…some frighteningly recent…when I violated these principles.

You might be guilty of a leadership eclipse if:

  • You insist on micromanagement. Your way is the best way. There’s no room for other opinions or options.
  • You eavesdrop, ready to pounce. As you listen in on conversations or observe your volunteers in action, you watch for chances to explain how they’re doing it wrong.
  • You hijack conversations. A leader who serves underneath you is asked a question. They don’t have the answer, so they come to you for help. Rather than empowering them with the correct information, you decide to play hero and go answer the question on their behalf.
  • You take credit for the work of your team. Rather than giving credit where credit is due, you bask in the glory of those who compliment a job well done. (We should strive to pass the credit and take the blame.)
  • You don’t provide opportunities for people to step up and serve. You suffer from the “we’re fine” myth, insisting that you’ve got it all together, when you know you should spread the load of leadership.
  • You don’t offer opportunities for growth. You never help a team member explore their gifts and skill sets. You never invest in their continuing education or training. You never ask the question “Is what you’re doing what you want to be doing?”
  • You skip over layers of leadership. Rather than coaching the leader immediately beneath you, you bypass them to coach the people that they lead. (In a multi-site church, this is a frequent danger.)

Are you guilty of one of these areas? Is there another area that you can point to and recognize where you’re eclipsing leadership? As the nation goes eclipse-crazy today, spend a few minutes considering how you can get out of the way and let your people shine.


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