Michael's riffs on leadership, coaching, writing, and the journey to becoming one of the dangerous, radical free
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
7 Common "Ego Traps" for Leaders: Trap #7
Ego Trap #7: "Power Trippin'"
Well, pretty much no leader I know would believe he or she is on a power trip. But then, I guess that's what makes it a trap.
The trap might be easier to connect with if we took out the word "power" and replaced it with "influence," "impact," or even "leadership." See, the trap is not to have influence or impact--we all want those as leaders. (Heck, that's what we're in it for!) The trap comes when we get a little too enamored with the level of influence we have. We see that our words carry weight; we notice how people revere us, how they really stop and listen when we have something to say. And we start trippin' on that. It's a rush, after all, when people genuinely respect you, when they look to you for leadership. But it starts moving into the trap zone when you start getting a little too juiced by your own brilliance. Instead of loving the people you lead, you start loving the effect you have on them. And that is a very very dangerous and potentially destructive road. Just ask Jim Jones.
As with all the other traps, avoiding this one all comes back to humility. Leadership is not about you; it's about them. The best leaders know that leadership is about serving, not ruling. And if you happen to be a leader with a lot of influence, what of it? In the end, your leadership will not be measured by how much influence you had over how many people, but by what you did with the influence you were given.
Michael Warden is a closet introvert who likes to swim in the deep end of the pool. He's the leadership development coach for Gateway Church in Austin, Texas, and the author of four or five books (who keeps count anymore?), including his epic fantasy novel series, the Pearlsong Refounding. Buy them here.
Michael is also a regular contributor to the Christian Coaching Center, and leads a couple of uber-cool life-transformation courses called The Destiny Project and The BraveHeart Intensive. Find out more about them here.