Four Ways Leaders Kill Momentum

Gaining momentum is the desire of the leader. It occurs when progress toward the mission and objective of the organization moves forward. It is the point when hard work and diligence begin to pay off. Sometimes more is accomplished with less investment because the energy has been generated and more team members and stakeholders are carrying the load. Everyone seems to be pulling in the same direction. Progress. Wins. Success. Celebration. Overcoming. Breaking through barriers. Momentum.

However, some leaders have an unhealthy habit of throwing out anchors that rob the church, organization, or business of potential momentum. The aptitude and the attitude of the team members is critical. Be careful not to sabotage the attitude of team members. Here is how it happens:

  1. When you belittle someone. Everyone likes to laugh. Jokes and pranks can be a lot of fun. That is, unless you are on the receiving end. You are not in High School anymore. You cannot motivate people by failing to show respect. Sarcastic, cutting, and critical comments equate to removing the fuel from the tank of the very person you need as a partner to get you to your destination. Criticism should not be avoided, but it should be far outweighed by frequent words of appreciation and encouragement. Talk people up. That is what effective leaders do.
  2. When you manipulate someone. No one likes to be used or to feel used. People value transparency well above one’s ability to be cunning. The golden rule should always apply. Treat others as you desire to be treated. If you do not want people “using you” to their own ends, then do not be guilty of manipulating and using others for your own designs. The aim is to partner with your team members and followers seeking the best possible outcome for all and not simply for yourself.
  3. When you are insensitive. One of your greatest assets are the people you work alongside and serve day in and day out. Being sensitive does not compel you to be “mushy” or “touchy-feely.” Be an active listener. Show genuine interest in people and their ideas. Acknowledge both accomplishments and personal losses that people experience. Demonstrate that you genuinely care and people will follow you. A leader has to be tough, but that does not mean you have to be tough to be around.
  4. When you discourage personal growth. An effective leader is intentional about developing other leaders. He or she encourages the advancement and growth of those that work under their leadership. Determining to be a leader of leaders (that you enlist and develop) will bear more fruit than being a leader of followers. You may have noticed that effective football coaches continually lose their assistant coaches to new head coaching positions. That loss is actually a compliment to their leadership. When you provide an environment for people to grow and advance, you will lose talented members. However, that type of leadership continually draws new members onto the team or into the organization. Never stand in the way of growth opportunities for your team. John Maxwell stated it this way: “If you grow, we all benefit!”

Adapted from Chapter Seven of Developing The Leader Within You by John Maxwell.