November 5, 2018 Tony Morgan

10 Signs That You’re “the Boss”… But Not the Leader

Sitting at the top of the org chart? Don’t let that little box speak for itself.

From time to time I’ll walk into a church and quickly learn that the team is not healthy.

What may be surprising to you is that, on the surface, everything looks good.

It’s possible that the church may be growing and the ministry may be having a huge impact in many people’s lives, but something is still not right. The team is not healthy.

And many times the team is not healthy because the leader is not healthy. It’s possible that the church may be growing and the ministry may be having a huge impact in many people's lives, but something is still not right. The team is not healthy. Click To Tweet

In fact, I’ve run into pastors who, as best as I could tell, were spiritually healthy to the extent that they were consistently in God’s Word and in prayer. However, where that spiritual health could be questioned was in their relationships with others.

Because their relationships were impaired or, in some cases, completely lacking, their leadership was also impaired… or sometimes completely lacking.

In other words, the pastor was positioned at the top of the organizational structure, and everyone would acknowledge that the pastor was “in charge.” But it takes more than positional authority to effectively lead others and create a healthy team environment.

What are the symptoms that your “leadership” is creating a toxic culture?

Here are 10 signs you may be the boss but not a leader…

  1. You have to make every decision.

  2. You know people fear you… and you’re okay with that.

  3. You have an agenda for today, but you lack a vision for the future.

  4. You “lead” a team, but your life is isolated from other people.

  5. You think once you get the title you’ll have influence.

  6. You believe the volume of your words is louder than the impact of your behaviors.

  7. You blame others for mistakes and take credit for the wins.

  8. You don’t ask “your subordinates” or peers for input or advice.

  9. You are focused solely on the mission and not the people who are on the mission with you.

  10. You are the boss, but no one is following you.

What are the symptoms that your “leadership” is creating a toxic culture? Click To Tweet

When I look back at my leadership over the last 20 years, my thoughts don’t gravitate to the decisions I’ve made or even the accomplishments that were achieved.

Instead, my thoughts go to the people I did life with. Everything else is really secondary.

We should accomplish a great mission, but our focus really needs to be on the people who are on that same mission with us. When those relationships are healthy, our influence increases.

That’s when we shift from being the boss to becoming the leader.

I mentioned this on a recent article, but we’re working on some resources to help leaders work towards individual and team health. It’s just in the beginning stages, but if you’re interested in learning more, share your email address below. We’ll connect with you when we have something to share.




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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.