Ron Edmondson: 10 Of My Biggest Leadership Mistakes

I’ve made a lot of leadership mistakes. One of the primary purposes of my ministry is to help others learn from my experience.

leadership mistakes

6. Leadership mistakes: Avoiding a brewing conflict.

At the same time, when I know trouble is stirring, and it isn’t going away without my input, it’s a mistake if I refuse to deal with it, because it is awkward or uncomfortable. It always comes back to haunt me. Unresolved conflict never just “goes away”. And, when left to brew long enough it can cause irreversible damage to a team.

7. Talking someone away from their heart.

For example, I’ve talked a few people into staying in jobs they didn’t like just because I liked them. It never works. It isn’t fair. It always ends worse than if I’d let them follow their hearts. I’ve learned when someone knows what they should do, I should encourage them rather than persuade them otherwise.

8. Not challenging, because I didn’t understand something.

I lead areas of ministry I’m not an expert in. Worship. Students. Small groups. Children. Preschool. Technology. Missions. Okay, I was afraid you’d notice, pretty much everything.

By practice, I’ve surrounded myself with people smarter than me. But, I have learned it is a mistake to believe, because I’m not the expert, I can’t challenge them in their field. I may have to study more, but as a leader my job is to challenge us to excellence. Therefore, I can, and should, challenge all areas, which impact the overall vision. Again, which is pretty much every area within our church.

9. Assuming people understand.

I don’t need many details. Well, let me be a little clearer, I don’t want or retain many details. But, everyone is not me. Some people thrive on details. They can’t function without them. And, neither personality is wrong. We need both types on our team. I’ve had to learn to communicate in different ways and let others assist me in communicating and I welcome questions.

10. Leadership mistakes: Ignoring the real problems.

I’ve been tempted to band-aid the problem, because it was too messy to address the real problem. Real problems often involve people. It’s easier to add a rule than get someone upset, but problems never go away until the real problem is addressed.

I’ve been honest with some of my leadership mistakes – some of them at least.

What are some of yours?


This article on leadership mistakes originally appeared here, and is used by permission. Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss issues of leadership in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.


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Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.