Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: The Paranoid Leader

Saul was such a leader. He took the priestly rights into his own hands. He prohibited the men from eating before battle, he failed to utterly destroy Amalek and refused to acknowledge any
disobedience. Saul feared David’s popularity. Saul’s neurotic activities led to his own breakdown and failure.

Paranoid leaders are:
Like Saul, jealous and suspicious of David and his rising popularity.
• Suspicious, hostile and guarded in their relationships with others
• Because of being jealous they are deeply insecure in their own abilities,
• Overreact to the mildest forms of criticism
• Often create rigid structures and systems of control
• Demand excessive reporting
• At the heart is strong feelings of insecurity and a lack of confidence

Mark the following:
5 = strongly agree
4 = agree
3 = uncertain
2 = disagree
1 = strongly disagree

• When I see two key church leaders discreetly talking in the lobby of the church, I worry that they may be talking about me.
• It really bothers me to think about my church’s board meeting without me being present.
• When an associate receives rave reviews for a sermon or some special ministry, I experience intense feelings of jealousy rather than joy in the success and recognition he or she is receiving.
• I require subordinates and associates to provide me with detailed reports of their activities.
• I struggle when an associate, rather than me, is asked by church members to perform services such as weddings or funerals.
• I have few intimate or meaningful relationships within my church or organization and find myself avoiding such relationships.
• I insist on absolute loyalty form those who work for me and prohibit staff from criticizing me in any way.
• I often worry that there is a significant faction within my organization that would like to see me leave.
• I have probed people for what they know or for special information they may have relating to certain leaders in my organization.
• Those I work with often complain about my lack of a healthy sense of humor.
• I routinely refer to those I lead as “my people,” “my board,” or “my church,” while bristling when the same designation is spoken by an associate.
• I tend to take seriously even lighthearted comments and jokes directed at me.

Next Week: The Codependent Leader