7 Signs of Unchecked Arrogance in Older Leaders

Yesterday, I addressed this issue of pride in younger leaders. Today, though, I focus on my generation and older—and I do so with some trepidation because I know I’ll be testing and revealing my own heart here. If you’re an older leader, be aware of these warning signs of pride:

  1. You write off the opinions of young leaders because they’re “inexperienced and naïve.” They might well be both, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from them. In many cases, they’re more in tune than we are with the culture we’re all trying to reach.
  2. You don’t have any intentional relationships with younger believers. You haven’t taken time to invest in some of them—and consequently, you’ve missed opportunities to be stretched and challenged by those who don’t know as much as you do, but who still have something to offer.
  3. If by chance you do invest in some young leaders, you talk more about your sacrifice to help them learn than about their growth in the Lord. That is, you’re still the center of the story when your goal should be to send out your mentees to do greater things than you’ve ever done.
  4. You promote a caricature of young leaders as arrogant and unteachable. Some of them may, in fact, show these characteristics (see yesterday’s post), but not all of them do. Writing off the entire generation is more a sign of arrogance than a sign of wisdom.
  5. No young leaders hang around you. When they see someone who’s genuine, transparent, and humble, this generation flocks to him or her. When they perceive a lack of genuineness, a lack of concern, or a lack of humility, they stay away. It’s generally a good thing, in my opinion, to look around and see who just hangs around us.
  6. You tend to find fault with a young leader’s successes. If he leads a church that grows, you question his theology or his methodology. If he has the privilege of speaking on a denominational platform, you think he’s not yet earned the right to do so. If he writes a blog or a book, you critique every word. Pride moves us in these directions.
  7. Rather than raising up new leaders, you stay too long at your church because you’re settled and pushing toward retirement. I’m deeply grateful for long-term pastors who finish well (see this post about long-term leaders), but I also know that some pastors hold on to what they have when it might be time to step aside for a younger leader. Sometimes it’s arrogance that keeps them there.

What are your thoughts? 



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