Though many may be associates of either senior pastors or business owners, it is virtually impossible to understand the pressures, sacrifices, and weight of responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of effective senior leaders. The following points illustrate some of the hazards of executive level leadership.

I. Executive level leaders often isolate themselves

• Many do not speak to other senior leaders because they want to keep up an air of success and respect among their peers.

• Many do not confide in their associates or staff when they struggle because they are afraid that familiarity will breed contempt.

• The Bible teaches us in Genesis 2 that it is not good that man should be alone. Man was made to be in community with others, whether it be family, friends or vocational colleagues.

No matter what the situation, executive level leaders must find others of their ilk to confide in and receive counsel and support from for the sake of the longevity and success of their lives, families, and organizations.

II. Executive level leaders often violate principles of Sabbath rest

• Many continually bear the weight and responsibility of their work with them 24/7, even when they are on vacation or with their family during downtime. The human mind can only take so much and must have a total break from stress if it is going to function at an optimum level. It is foolish to try to function at an optimum level with a tired mind and hurting soul.

• Many do not take a day off each week and attempt to continually function at a high level without breaks to recover and revitalize. This would be as foolish as running a one-week marathon without ever stopping to sleep or eat.

III. Executive level leaders often do not celebrate the processes of success

Often, they are so driven by the long-term product that they do not take adequate satisfaction in the small victories needed to achieve long-term success. In many ways God considers the process just as important as the product! Because of this, they are continually unhappy, stressed out, and are not able to adequately rest because their lack of fulfillment or satisfaction in achieving small victories in short-term goals makes them feel restless.

IV. Executive level leaders often judge themselves by the success stories of other leaders

In the same way everyone has a different fingerprint, we all have unique callings and ways to accomplish them that differ from everyone else on the planet! Because of this, we all have different ways to judge success and failure. Ultimately, God will judge us by our faithfulness to our particular assignment. When we attempt to value ourselves based on the most successful models of leadership in our genre of work, we can do damage to our emotions because we will never come up to the level of every model showcased. The moment we think we have come to one person’s level, another person will arise who will have an even more impressive model that will again cause us to go into the emotional funk of devaluing ourselves.

V. Executive level leaders often sacrifice the health of their soul for the urgent matters of pending tasks

I have met numerous high-level leaders who never take time to adequately pray, study, or exercise because of urgent pending tasks in front of them. While there may be seasons of this, neglecting self-renewal and health should be the exception to the rule that happens only occasionally and for a very good reason. Never continually sacrifice something that is vital for something that is urgent.

VI. Executive level leaders often do not have a plan for personal growth and development

Although most successful executive level leaders know how to work off of a strategic business plan and budget, most cannot say the same regarding a personal plan for their own growth. The ones that can have made the connection that an organization will only grow as far as the executive leader grows. Thus, if they really care about their church or business, they would put themselves on a strict systematic regimen of reading quality books, listening to quality audio teachings, and having regular conversations with great leaders and achievers.

VII. Executive level leaders often put the work of the organization before the health of their family and key personnel

According to Genesis 1:27-28 the foundational principle of subduing the earth and having dominion is not based on achievement in work but based on proper male-female relationships (especially in marriage) and having children’s children who are properly trained to consecrate the earth (“replenish” in Genesis 1:28 means to consecrate). Many high-level leaders are shot down or stunted in reaching their potential because of marital and family problems arising from neglect. For long-term effectiveness, executive level leaders must learn to prioritize their marriages, families, and the key staff assigned to them to fulfill the dominion mandate in Scripture.

Joseph Matterra