Mistakes Leaders Make

I am going to work through some leadership books that have greatly impacted my personal growth. I will use a chapter-by-chapter summary, analysis, and what I learned approach. My prayer is that you will gain something to better your life.

Finzel, Hans. The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make. Colorado: Nexgen, 2000

Chapter 1: The Top-down Attitude: The Number-one Leadership Hang-up


Author, Hans Finzel, makes claim that “The Top-down” leadership style is the most common mistake made by leaders. It’s at the top of the list because many leaders have a natural tendency to act this way. Some leaders let power go to their head and treat everyone else below them less than human. Many in charge, fall into this category because it has been modeled throughout history, it’s familiar, effortless, innate, and results from the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

It is the opposite of servant leadership, which treats people with respect. A good example of a servant leader was Jesus. Finzel offers some substitutes for the “top-down attitude.” The replacement for the leader should include others in decision-making, oversee others and aid in their own leadership, consider input from coworkers, lead along side others, and be a servant to the follower when appropriate. The reader may ask how they can lead without having this type of attitude? The author offers the follow suggestions: serve everyone, give others liberty to be who they want to be, work on listening skills, partner with others, affirm fellow workers, and give power to people. The chapter

The chapter is summed up with “The Five Levels of Leadership” (p. 34). This list concludes why others follow leaders. They follow because they are forced to follow; it’s their desire to be led, for the greater cause of the group, personal gratitude towards the leader, and inspiration from a leader.


I think this was a great chapter. In my experience I have found myself trying to lead this way a time or two. It doesn’t work unless one has volunteered for the military. Even then the Soldier only follows because they are forced to follow the position and rank of the leader.

I was glad to see that the author included the word “attitude.” In my life, I have seen leaders holding onto this leadership flaw. It happens because they hold their inability in high regard. I was also pleased that Finzel included Jesus’ leadership style in this chapter. It is important to keep a balance when we as leaders opt to lead from the top as we look down to everyone else.

What I Have Learned:

I have learned to safe guard myself from this leadership mistake is to follow Jesus and lead the way He led.


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