The Floundering Leader
I remember very vividly the first time I served under a floundering leader. I was a pompous 20-something that was actively reading everything by John Maxwell that I could get my hands on, so I thought I had leadership all figured out (in spite of the fact that I really wasn’t leading anything.)
My arrogance and attitude of superiority caused me to think things like:
“I could do this so much better than them.”
“Don’t they understand how frustrated everyone is?”
“Why aren’t they doing anything?”
I learned a lot about leadership during that season. I really did.
Since I’ve now experienced my own seasons of floundering, I have so much more compassion and grace for that leader.
If you’re following a floundering leader, here are a few things I would caution you to consider:
- You have no idea what that leader is facing. You may think you do, but I guarantee that you don’t. Give them grace. They need it.
- Pray, watch, observe and journal what you see. Don’t talk to others about it – that just turns into backbiting and gossip. Study what that leader is doing and how they are doing it and make some notes that you’ll want to read when you find yourself floundering sometime down the road. (Because if you are leading, you WILL flounder at some point.)
- Engage that leader in conversation. Don’t give them an earful of everything you think they are doing wrong – they probably know everything you’ll tell them. Tell that leader that you are praying for them. Ask if there is anything that you can do to help them or support them.
If you’re the flounder-er, here’s my advice to you:
- Don’t deny it. Floundering is one of the seasons and passages of leadership. Don’t try to convince yourself it’s not happening.
- Humble yourself. Everyone knows and sees that you’re floundering, no matter how hard you’re trying to cover it up.
- Be honest with your team and find ways that they can help you pick up some of the things that are weighing you down. I bet they would be honored to help you.
- Talk openly with whomever you are accountable to. You need to set some purposeful time to share with them what has you floundering and work together to create a plan to pull you out of this season. It’s detrimental to everyone, especially yourself, to stay in this space.
Have you ever observed a flounder-er or found yourself floundering? What did you observe?