An isolated leader is a dangerous leader. The sting of criticism, the burden of the responsibilities and the pace of leadership can nudge a leader toward isolation, but every step toward isolation is a step toward danger. Sadly, many leaders move toward isolation. They have taken the cliché “it’s lonely at the top” as justification to remove themselves from people. Though there is truth in the cliché, it must not be used to practice unwise and ungodly leadership. Here are six reasons isolated leaders are dangerous.
1. Isolated leaders don’t receive care and encouragement.
Leading is continually challenging, and leaders who don’t receive care and encouragement are in a dangerous position. But isolation makes it impossible to receive care from others.
2. Isolated leaders don’t receive necessary confrontation.
Because no one leader is perfect, every leader needs confrontation at times. An isolated leader removes himself/herself from those opportunities by only being surrounded with people who are unwilling to confront, which means spiritual maturation and growth will suffer. And a ministry leader who is not growing in godliness is dangerous. Healthy ministries are led by healthy ministry leaders.
3. Isolated leaders make foolish decisions.
The writer of Proverbs reminds us that plans fail for lack of counsel (Proverbs 15:22
). An isolated leader won’t gain the perspective necessary to lead well.
4. Isolated leaders don’t learn effectively.
Leaders must continually learn, and leaders who are isolated greatly limit their learning, thus greatly limiting their effectiveness.
5. Isolated leaders are divorced from reality.
Isolated leaders are divorced from the reality of their context, so they lead in ways that are out of sync with reality.
6. Isolated leaders are removed from the people they lead.
Leaders are responsible for the people they lead, are responsible to serve and love them well. But an isolated leader can’t love and lead well, thus the people won’t receive the care they need.