How Not to be a Jerk

Episode 628: What are some traits of domineering leaders and how can you recognize them in your own life? Host Clint Clifton and Todd Adkins, LifeWay’s director of leadership development, discuss healthy work relationships and how to guard against patterns of domineering leadership developing in new pastoral leaders.

In This Episode, You’ll Discover:

  • What can be done to guard against patterns of domineering leadership developing in new pastoral leaders
  • Some traits of domineering leaders and how you can recognize them in your own life
  • What a healthy work relationship has in common with a healthy marriage
  • Four signs you are a domineering leader
  • What “useful vulnerability” looks like in a good leader
  • How to fill in the blank: “If you’re a leader and you want to make everybody happy, just go _____”
  • What 1 Peter 5 says about God’s standard for those who lead His Church.

Sharable Quotes (#NewChurches):

The rise and fall of Mars hill podcast has started a conversation around leadership that, while it has been happening already now has really come to a state of maturity where we are facing head-on the difficulties of domineering leadership that we also see manifested in smaller ways in in local churches. @ClintJClifton

We need to say OK, what can I learn from this and how is it going to move me forward in my relationship with Christ and and bring glory to Him and and His Church. It’s better to learn from somebody else’s mistakes before we learn for our from from our own. @Todd Adkins

You have to be careful about cheap leadership, which happens when you are a jerk and you use your “power” and position to get your way or to make it all about you or fill in the blank. @Todd Adkins

On the other side of it, cheap leadership is not leading at all, being so concerned about something that you don’t actually do much or move people forward because you don’t have the confidence or competence to make decisions and move forward. @Todd Adkins

This is a stewardship issue. It’s about recognizing the responsibility we have as leaders to not please everybody. At the end of the day, the burden on you is to lead, whether or not you make everybody happy along the way. @Todd Adkins

Someone once told me that pastors are professional forgivers and, if you happen to be on the side of receiving criticism, you’re going to have to have thick skin and a tender heart, not thin skin and a hard heart. You have a heart of receptivity toward the criticisms but don’t let them go into your marrow. @ClintJClifton

When you’re establishing a church plant, a really big part of the culture you’re creating is how you yourself are interacting with the people, the tone that you set, the things that you celebrate, measure, control or reprimand. All those things are key levers in setting that culture. @Todd Adkins

People can outrun their competence and character pretty quickly, if they don’t continue to be humble and they don’t  intentionally put guardrails around themselves. They naturally drift toward domineering because of basic human nature. @Todd Adkins

Good leadership is a powerful weapon and it needs to be in the hands of somebody with good character who knows how to use it. We must be dedicated to truly and authentically developing leaders and passing along the character of Christ to them. @ClintJClifton

Part of it is recognizing that your legacy is not what you do, it’s who you develop;  it’s not the organization you build, it’s the organism you build. It’s all about the posture at which you approach leadership and motivation. @Todd Adkins

You have to ask questions: What’s it like working on the other side of me? Do I give others the grace that I ask for? If I treated my spouse like this, how would they react? @Todd Adkins

Good leaders don’t react; they respond. And there’s a big difference: One is emotional and one is actual leadership. @Todd Adkins

Helpful Resources:


Published December 21, 2021