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The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Finzel, Hans, The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make (Colorado Springs: CO: David C. Cook 2007) 221.

    Hans W. Finzel is the executive director of World Venture since 1993. World Venture is a global missionary corporation with projects around the world. They also help churches with their missions' objectives, church planting and training mission and church leaders. Finzel has authored two other books and a noted expert in leadership. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and the Fuller School of Missions. He and his wife have four children.
    The book is currently in its second addition purposed to help those called to lead. According to Finzel, a study of history shows the dangers associated with leadership. Today we are still making mistakes that mar the generations that follow our leaders. Finzel begins by describing five problems in learning leadership due to the lack of training and poor preparation. First, leaders replicate poor leadership habits seen in others. Second, leaders lack the skills that are basic for the requirements of common leadership demands. Third, there is a lack of adequate models and mentors in leadership. Fourth, our leaders lack formal training. And five, Christians are confused over conflicts between secular and biblical leadership values.
    Accordingly, Finzel suggests that the best leaders have learned through trial and error. He professes that the number one "leadership sin" is the top-down disposition. This attitude prescribes a belief that leaders prevail served rather than serving. Alternatives to the leader approach suggested are participatory, facilitator, democratic, flat organization and servant-leader. However, the attitude is traditional, commonly used, easier or effortless and it is an innate description of human nature. The alternative is the servant-leader who cares more for others than themselves enriching everyone (33). These leaders are non-abusive, non-deploring, listeners, non-dictatorial, or egocentric.
    Secondly, Finzel suggest putting paperwork before 'peoplework' is out of hand. Most leaders that are 'type A personality,' task-oriented or workaholic must realize that the greater impact with people is spiritual which can only be achieved through one-on-one contact. Finzel defines leadership as influencing. He suggests influencing transformation through direct contact. Leaders are poor listeners because they are driven by impatience, time consciousness, insecurity and competition.
    The third mistake of leaders is the absence of affirmation because people thrive on praise. Christians are worst than secular arena's believing that the rewards come from God and one may prove to be egotistic. He notes that because people are different they require different levels of affirmation to show that they are cared. It is a huge leadership mistake to neglect this emotional support that results in high turnover rates as people seek more empowering positions (70).
    The fourth mistake in leadership is elimination of 'mavericks.' These individuals are gifted, creative, zealous and energetic by vision and are 'go-getters.' Mavericks run into barriers that refuse to conform to change. Mavericks are enemies to institutionalization. "History is filled with many examples of innovators who were greatly misunderstood-but went on to create positive beneficial revolutions that changed the world (87)."
    Another mistake is dictatorship decision making that take the fun out of life and break the human spirit that longs to soar with achievement (90). Finzel identifies dictators as having an "apostolic" view

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