The Three Biggest Leadership Mistakes

A person’s character gets revealed in good and challenging times. More than having the talent or the skills, this moral compass is what often makes or breaks leadership. To become a good leader, it’s essential to build your character in a way that will bring peace and success to the people you lead. As such, you have to know which traits you must possess and which you have to work on—or completely eliminate.

In this episode, Tim delves into the three biggest leadership mistakes. He talks about the weight of character over talent in becoming a good leader. He then lays down the basic character traits a good leader must have and the mistakes they should never make. Tim highlights the foundational principle of moral compass in leading your team to peace and success.

If you’d like to learn how to lead your organization to success, tune in to this episode! 

3 Reasons to Listen:

  1. Discover the three basic character traits of leadership.
  2. Learn the three biggest leadership mistakes or flaws.
  3. Find out what makes a good leader.


Episode Highlights

[02:34] Knowing the Three Biggest Leadership Mistakes

  • These are the negative side of the characteristics that we should have.
  • Our minds sometimes learn better when we hear the opposite of what we should be doing.

[03:30] Moral Compass as a Foundational Principle

  • The foundational principle of leadership is moral compass and who we are as individuals.
  • Some people get elevated to positions of leadership because of their talent. But it doesn’t mean they have the moral compass needed for that role.
  • Leadership has nothing to do with someone’s ability or talent. Rewarding talent instead of recognizing character is what’s causing issues in leaders.
  • Character gets revealed in good times and extremely challenging situations.
  • Talent can only carry you so far when things get tough.
[04:51] “What we're seeing is the result of rewarding talent instead of recognizing character is what is causing many issues in the world and, specifically, the world of leaders today.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[06:13] Ecclesiastes 10:10

  • Tim has been doing a chronological read of the Bible this year.
  • Ecclesiastes is an odd book in the Bible. The first 11 chapters of the book talk about what's the point of doing all the work when it will all disappear when you die.
  • Tune in to the full episode to learn the meaning of Ecclesiastes 10:10!
  • Someone with a low character has to work harder to be successful. But if they have wisdom, it’s going to be more helpful in defining what success is.
  • Leadership and life are harder for a low-character person. Thus, we desire to have the character traits of someone with strength and wisdom.
[09:04] “Leadership and life is harder and has more issues for the low character person or for the person with limited character.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[09:40] What Makes a Good Leader

  • When people who are not good and kind get elevated into leadership roles, the fact that they're not good people gets magnified.
  • Part of Tim's mission is to get people thinking about what it means to be a kind person, so it spills over into leadership.
  • It’s tough for someone who’s a jerk to implement positive traits.
  • Leaders are grossly unprepared for the possible idolization that comes with leadership.
  • Character is extremely important. Pride and ego typically cannot handle the pedestal people get placed on.

[12:08] The Impossibleness of Living Up to the Leadership Role

  • The nature of social media results in hypercriticism of the leadership role, which is oftentimes unfair.
  • An average person who’s not trying to work on character issues cannot handle the pressure of great success.
  • Leaders don’t have as much control as we think they do. Many times, they’re just positioning things.
  • A primary thing a leader should do is to create an atmosphere so they and others can succeed.
  • Leaders must have basic foundations to handle complexities of leadership.

[14:13] Three Leadership Basic Character Traits and the Three Biggest Leadership Mistakes

  • The three basic character traits are love, faith, and peace. These are the three foundational items people should have to be successful in a leadership role.
  • The opposite of these basic character traits is the biggest leadership flaws or mistakes. These are apathy, being self-focused, and chaos.

[16:22] #1: Apathy

[18:43] “When someone does a good job, catch them doing it and give them verbal praise or some type of praise right then and there because if you do not, that is not showing love, and it's being apathetic. You do not want to be someone showing apathy.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • Apathy manifests when you are not thinking about your people or leaders on a regular basis. You ignore and let them handle challenges on their own.
  • Another big mistake under the category of apathy is not giving timely praise and correction.
  • Someone in a leadership role should exude love and kindness as often as possible. Nobody wants to work for a jerk.
  • Another aspect of apathy is focusing on the wrong things. For example, focusing on advancing your position vs. organization's objectives.
  • Love requires time. Apathy shows a lack of time commitment to important things.
[20:25] “Don't be a jerk. Nobody wants to work for a jerk, and no one should want to be a jerk.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[22:54] #2: Self-Focus

  • Self-focus is when someone is consumed with themselves. Someone operating from faith understands there is something bigger in the world than just them.
  • Recognize that the world does not revolve around you. What softened Tim's self-focus are getting married, becoming a follower of Christ, and having children.
  • Two things that tie into self-focus are not thinking long-term and not looking at the big picture. 
  • A leader is a steward over people, places, or things they had been given by God. This definition allows you to think of the bigger picture.
  • A tangible result of being self-focused is being really arrogant and feeling the need to prove yourself at the expense of others.

[29:56] #3: Chaos

  • People who lead from a place of chaos create roadblocks instead of creating an environment that fosters success.
  • Someone quick to anger brings chaos. What happens is you attract people that are comfortable with that type of personality.
  • You can also bring chaos into the organization if you’re slow to correct. The longer you wait to address situations, the more chaos it’s going to create.
  • Another big thing is allowing abusive behavior. You cannot ignore abusive behavior; it becomes your responsibility to jump in once you witness it.
  • Positioning yourself and your team to succeed is how you bring peace and rest and eliminate chaos in the organization.
[39:08] “Position yourself, your organization, your group or your team, and individuals to succeed. That's how you bring peace and rest in the organization and eliminate chaos.” - Click Here To Tweet This

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About the Podcast

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Seek Go Create
Redefining Success in Leadership, Business & Ministry

About your host

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Tim Winders

Tim Winders is a faith-driven executive coach and author with over 40 years of experience in leadership, business, and ministry. Through his personal journey of redefining success, he has gained valuable insights on how to align beliefs with work and lead with purpose. He is committed to helping others do the same, running a coaching business that helps leaders, leadership teams, business owners, and entrepreneurs to align their beliefs with their work and redefine success.

In addition to his coaching business, Tim is also the host of the SeekGoCreate podcast and author of the book Coach: A Story of Success Redefined, which provides guidance for those looking to redefine success and align their beliefs with their work. With his extensive background, unique perspective and strengths in strategic thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving, Tim is well-suited to help clients navigate through difficult times and achieve their goals.