Every leader I know, if they’re honest, must confess they have done something that disqualifies them from leadership. Maybe it was a bad decision. Maybe it was an ethical lapse. Maybe it was a simple mistake. Maybe it was a moral failure no one found out about. Maybe everyone found out about the moral failure. Romans 3:23 (“For all have fallen short of the glory of God”) applies to leaders too.
I crossed boundaries as a young man that should have disqualified me for leadership.. I made mistakes as a seasoned leader that could have resulted in dismissal. Why have I been allowed to stay in leadership while others have been forced to step down? I was blessed to have some people around me who knew when to restore and when to let go.
1. It’s a mistake, not a willful rebellion.
2. The leader owns responsibility for his or her sin or mistake.
3. Time has been allowed for healing for all the parties involved.
4. Third party counseling is used over multiple sessions.
5. Public confession and repentance (when appropriate) has occurred.
6. The leader has stepped aside for a season to work on his or her issues and is now in a healthier place.
7. It’s a mistake that can be easily rectified.
Let go when:
1. There is no acknowledgement of sin or mistake.
2. There is no attempt to make amends.
3. Counseling is refused.
4. The leader shifts blame to someone else.
5. The sin or mistake, by nature of those it impacts, makes it impossible the leader to continue in his or her role.
6. The leader involved will not make decisions to change his or her conduct.
7. The leader’s position demands credibility that has been lost.
Factors not to put in play:
1. Holding onto to someone because they are a “high performance” player.
2. The dread of having to find a new leader.
3. Nepotism, mentor/mentee relationship, friendship, external business relationship, etc.
4. Fear that “we’ll never find anyone that good again.”
5. Fear of other organizational or personal secrets being disclosed.
6. Pressures from those not in leadership who are supporters of the leader.
7. Although this should go without saying, hoping it the situation will go away.
Bottom line: Pray hard for God’s leadership, hold to your values, be courageous.