Have you ever known a leader who just wouldn’t lead intentionally? Or, have you ever known followers who were inept and were still told they were doing a good job?


A while back, a colleague of mine was discussing with me the many different types of leadership we have seen over our careers. We believe we discovered a leadership style that has been around for ages but never classified – at least not that we have seen anyways.

We called it “Impotent Leadership,” and no, it has nothing to do with society’s definition of male impotence.
Impotent Leadership is defined by a leader who lacks the ability or willingness to use his authority to lead those who follow him. Sadly this can be in every aspect of our lives: work – especially if you have a team, home – immediate family and friends, and church – ministry teams or others.

The harm in being an Impotent Leader is it encourages those you’re leading to feel they have free reign to do what they want, even when it’s doing a terrible job!
So we came up with this picture as a way to remind us what damage Impotent Leadership can do to the rest of our teams.


Sanctioned Incompetence Demoralizes


Damages of Impotent Leadership

You see, when you have a team, in any area of your life, and you sanction incompetence, that is you allow or give permission to someone to do something they have the inability to do, you will demoralize the rest of your team.

A good leader will understand the importance of an engaged and motivated team, but when you allow for incompetence to run amuck, you are allowing for that team to fall apart. No one who wants to be productive and part of a winning team will want to be part of a culture which allows the wrong people to be in the wrong seat. Only people who want to do nothing, or do nothing correctly, will gravitate towards your team.


Find the Right Place for All

Your job as a leader is to find the strengths of each individual on your team and place them where they will do the most good for everyone, for the team. If you want to allow someone to try something new, that is OK, and should be highly encouraged with a close eye on the outcome. If that person fails, that’s great because you’ve learned they either need more training in that area or they need to try something different. Leaders can’t leave them there, doing the same wrong thing repeatedly, encouraging them to continue to do it as if they’re doing it correctly.

Once you find the right place for all the members of your team, they’ll be encouraged, motivated, and running like a high performance race car. You’ll still have hiccups every now and then, that’s human nature to have mistakes, but you won’t be sanctioning incompetence which will demoralize your entire team.


Have you ever had or been an Impotent Leader? How did it effect you and the team you were on at the time? I’d love to hear about it either in the comments below or on my Facebook post.


Have a great day and God Bless!

Parker Waldrop

Parker Waldrop has taken every opportunity in his career to train & develop others. With over 15 years of training & development experience, he has trained hundreds of employees, leaders, and students in a variety of areas of expertise. With a heart to please God, Parker has found his calling of helping develop others and help them follow their passion.

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