4 Harmful Behaviors Christian Leaders Need to Guard Against

4 Harmful Behaviors Christian Leaders Need to Guard Against

There are certain harmful behaviors every Christian leader needs to watch out for and guard against. There is a story in 3 John 1: 9-11 in which John addresses several destructive and harmful behaviors that Diotrephes was having with the people in his sphere of influence. John wrote:

 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.
Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.

The above passage mentions four harmful behaviors the leader Diotrephes was having that would cause him to eventually lose his leadership position. The behaviors are self-centeredness, gossiping, not being hospitable, and showing hostility to others. If we are not careful we can also fall prey to one or more of these harmful behaviors. Leaders need to guard against them at all cost. Let’s look at each of the behaviors and learn how we can guard against them:

1. Self-centered

Self-centered leaders focus on themselves the majority of the time. Often the root of self-centeredness is pride. The danger of being focusing on yourself is it turns your attention and eyes away from your people. Self-centered leaders fail to build relationships, fail to move people toward the achievement of the vision, and crumbles moral. Diotrephes was prideful and loved his leadership position more than the people.

Leaders must guard against self-centeredness. The best way to prevent an over focus of ourselves is to have people, like a mentor or close friend, hold us accountable for our actions and attitude. Trusting people who can openly speak into our lives allows us to remain grounded.

2. Gossiping

Gossip is dangerous. It tears people apart and destroys teams. Even the smallest gossip can cause a team or even the entire company to fail. Leaders who engage and promote gossip will soon find themselves without any committed followers or allies, often the good people will leave the company or to a different department to distance themselves from the gossiping leader. The people who remain are often toxic (gossipers) themselves.

Leaders should set the example of superb leadership by not gossiping themselves and not tolerating people who chose to gossip. You can set high expectations of not gossiping when people know and see you don’t engage in gossip yourself. We should strive for a non-gossip workplace.

3. Not being hospitable

Leaders should be hospitable. Being hospitable is about being friendly, caring, and welcoming to the people around you. When a leader is not hospitable it often creates a large gap between themselves and other people. It prevents them from knowing, understanding, and establishing deep relationships with others. Diotrephes was not only inhospitable, but he told his followers not to be hospitable or help others. He truly was a poor example.

We need more hospitable leaders at our workplaces. Being hospitable at work is about investing in relationships and showing your people they are able to approach you. Leaders need to take a large amount of time on a regular basis to learn about and get to know the people on their team.

4. Hostility

One sure way to lose respect with others and even to lose your leadership position is by being hostile on a routine basis, especially when the hostility is directed toward the person and not the situation or problem. Hostility turns a leader into an intimidating bully and causes people to fear being around them. It slams the door closed to open and honest communication and does not provide room for new and creative ideas.

It’s crucial we guard against being hostile. There are two ways to prevent being hostile. The first is to join a group or get counseling so you can become aware and heal from any past scars that might cause you to behave in a hostile manner. The second way is to have an accountability partner to lean on and hold you accountable.

Question: Which of these behaviors do you struggle with the most and how to you guard against them?

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  • Hey Dan1 i recently taught 3 John on a Wednesday night study and these were the thoughts which came out on Diotrephes. What is cool is how John shows us what godly leadership is like by using Gaius and Demetrius. Thanks for the succinct lesson.

    • Hi Bill,

      Do you have a link to the audio of the message? Those are great example of Godly leadership.

      • No I don’t. It was a class I was teaching on the 66 books of the Bible (took 2 years)