How to Survive a Leadership Let Down

Image Courtesy of marin

Image Courtesy of marin

Many of us have experienced being let down by a leader. Dealing with the disappointment that comes with what I call a leadership let down can really throw us for a loop. It can shake our confidence, kill our trust, and cause us not to follow something or someone we at one time really believed in.

I’ve been let down a few times in my life and it’s easy to find yourself in a tail spin, disillusioned and even angry. The feelings that are involved with a let down can be personally devastating and today I wanted to give you a few ways to respond in order to survive a  leadership let down.

1. When a leader lets you down, don’t have a meltdown. A meltdown is to collapse or break down disastrously.  I’ve seen leadership let downs kill organizations, end businesses, split churches and I’ve seen it divide and destroy the best of friendships.  As a result of a leadership let down I’ve seen people walk away from their faith, leave their marriage, and run away from difficult situations when they were needed the most.

Surviving a total collapse and a disastrous break down will require us to be courageous while facing our deepest pain and fears that accompany a leadership let down. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'”

There are only a few things that I can think of that are more horrific than a let down,  but courage will keep us from having a major meltdown the next time your faced with this kind of adversity.

2. When a leader lets you down, don’t let it keep you down.  If you think you’ve wasted years of your life by following a leader that ultimately has let you down, know that you can turn what seems like wasted time into wisdom beyond your years.  One of the things that I’ve learned in surviving let downs is that wisdom is always available and accessible even in the most difficult circumstances. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do!”

Choosing not to allow your let downs to keep you down gives us the opportunity to walk away from what seems like a life wasted with a lifetime of wisdom.

3. When a leader lets you down, start a personal countdown. There is a time to mourn and grieve over a leadership let down. I think this action step is often overlooked preventing true healing to take place in a person’s soul and spirit because the effects of the let down are never given adequate attention.

Just saying “Get over it!” never worked for me and that usually causes us to get bitter rather than better.  Let downs require courage and wisdom, but one of the most important survival techniques you can have is patience.  Patience allows you to begin the healing process and starts a personal countdown to emotional and spiritual recovery.  It takes a certain amount of time to get through a let down, and a personal count down will get you moving forward instead of stalling and dwelling on what could have been. Patience allows you to move forward with God’s timing. It can take two months or two years, but it is necessary to be patient with the process no matter how long it takes. Patience is the best remedy for pain.

James 1:2-4 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

The next time you are let down respond with courage, wisdom and patience and turn it into an opportunity to make you strong, wise and perfected during a very gut wrenching process in surviving a leadership let down.

Have you ever been let down by a leader? How did you respond?



  1. says

    Great post Dean! If we live life long enough it’s going to happen, multiple times too. From personal experience I can say that God can use these events for His good in us and through us if we respond as you’ve instructed us.

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