8 Killers of Motivation and Momentum

Recently I wrote 7 Ways to Motivate a Leader. Leaders need to remain motivated so they can help motivate their team, but I believe leaders also need to be keenly aware of how motivated their team is at any given time.

Perhaps even more important, a leader needs to recognize when a team is decreasing in motivation so he or she can work to keep momentum from declining beyond repair. When a team loses motivation, momentum is certain to suffer loss.

With that in mind…

Here are 8 killers of motivation and momentum:

Routine – When people have to repeat the same activity over and over again, in time they lose interest in it. This is especially true in a day where rapid change is all around them. Change needs to be a built-in part of the organization to keep people motivated and momentum moving forward. (You may want to read 7 ways to implement change successfully.)

Fear – When people are afraid, they often quit. They stop taking risks. They fail to give their best effort. They stop trying. Fear keeps a team from moving forward. Leaders can remove fear by welcoming mistakes, by lessening control, and by celebrating each step.

Success – A huge win or a period of success can lead to complacency. When the team feels they’ve “arrived” they may no longer feel the pressure to keep learning. Leaders who recognize this killer may want to provide new opportunities, change people’s job responsibilities, and introduce greater challenges or risks.

Lack of direction – People need to know where they are going and what a win looks like…especially according to the leader. When people are left to wonder, they lose motivation, do nothing or make up their own answers. Leaders should continually pause to make sure the team understands what they are being asked to do. You may want to read THIS POST for more help with this one.

Failure– Some people can’t get past a failure and some leaders can’t accept failure as a part of building success. Failure should be used to build momentum. As one strives to recover, lessons are learned and people are made stronger and wiser, but if not viewed and addressed correctly, it leads to momentum stall.

Apathy – When a team loses their passion for the vision, be prepared to experience a decline in momentum. Leaders must consistently be casting vision. In a way, leaders become a cheerleader for the cause, encouraging others to continue a high level of enthusiasm for the vision.

Burnout – When a team or team member has no opportunity to rest, they soon lose their ability to maintain motivation and momentum stalls. Good leaders learn when to push to excel and when to push to relax. This may be different for various team members, but everyone needs to pause occasionally to re-energize.

Feeling unvalued – When someone feels his or her contribution to the organization isn’t viewed as important, they lose the motivation to continually produce. Leaders must learn to be encouragers and champions of the people they lead.

If you see these at work in your organization, address them now!

Which is these is hardest for you to recognize or address?

Which have you experienced firsthand as a killer of motivation or momentum?

12 Ways to be a Leader of Value

Do you want to be a leader valued by the ones who follow?

There are plenty of leaders…or people who have leadership roles. Not all are valued as leaders. I hear from people every week who don’t feel they follow a valuable leader. If you are going to lead…lead in a way that creates value in the lives of others and the organizations you lead.

Here are 12 ways to be a leader of value:

Be open to challenge…

Be quick to share credit…

Be mindful of what’s missing…

Be consistent to offer praise…

Be accessible to followers…

Be willing to embrace change…

Be slow to condemn…

Be diligent in matters of character…

Be looking for what’s next…

Be a servant to all…

Be an example to many…

Be ready to take risks…

Try those dozen things and see how quickly you become a leader of value.

What would you add to my list?

Leadership Tip: Collaboration Leads to Cooperation

Leadership Tip: Collaboration leads to Cooperation

When you are leading a team, the more you collaborate with your team during the planning process and before the final decisions are made, the more cooperation you’ll receive from your team during the implementation process.

Of course, you can’t collaborate on every decision. One of the reasons you are leader is to make big picture, strategic decisions.

Whenever a decision, however, impacts other people, especially if it:

  • Impacts how they do their work…
  • Changes the basic nature of what they do…
  • Significantly impacts the future of the team or organization…

…Collaboration is advised, because it always bring better cooperation from the team.

In fact, the opposite can be equally true. A lack of collaboration naturally brings a lack of cooperation.

And cooperation rocks in organizational health!

Cooperation brings;

  • Collective buy-in
  • A sense of ownership and empowerment
  • Less petty arguments
  • Lower resistance to change
  • More passion towards the vision
  • Shared workload
  • Fewer cases of burnout

What leader doesn’t appreciate those things? :)

Leader, learn to collaborate better so your team can learn to cooperate better.

Have you seen this principle in practice? Is collaboration easy for you to do as a leader?

How have you seen this principle work or the opposite effect occur in a team’s health? Help us learn from your experience.

Don’t Address the HOW until you Address the WHAT

I’ve seen it many times…

You have an idea…it’s not a bad idea…it may be a great idea…

You just don’t know yet…

Here’s my advice…

Spend your energies at first on deciding whether it’s an idea worth pursuing…

The what…

Before you spend a lot of energy on the mechanics of the idea…

The how…

You may have to talk about some of the how to decide the what, but spend your first, best and most energy on the what…

For example: Let’s say you have an idea to add a third church service to allow for more growth…or maybe you are thinking of going multi-site…or the idea could be to plant another church. Don’t spend too much time on the how…until you decide the what.

Is this an idea worth pursuing?

Are you willing to give it a try?

Yes or no?  

Spending too much time on the how before you address the what:

  • Gets you bogged down in needless details…
  • Wastes energy that could be used elsewhere…
  • Solves problems you don’t yet and may never have…
  • Creates division about change prematurely…
  • Builds momentum before it’s time…

Once you decide the what, you’ll have more passion, clarity and energy to address the how.

Do you often find yourself addressing the how before you decide the what? 

How They Perceive You as a Leader…More Important…

How your team sees you may be more important than who you are as a leader…

Obviously character is most important…

You’ll often be misunderstood…

You can’t please everyone…

Somedays as a leader…it seems you can’t please anyone…  :)

The reality of the success of a leader, though, may depend more on how you are viewed by the people you lead than it does on what you do as a leader. I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, that the two are not always the same.

  • Do they see you more as an agent of empowerment or an agent of control?
  • Do the see you more as a champion for their ideas or a killer of their dreams?
  • Do they see you more as a proponent of change or a protector of tradition?
  • Do they see you as a friend of progress or the enemy of success?

Much of your success as a leader will depend on the perception you create among the people you attempt to lead.

So, leader, how are you doing?

Have you ever known a leader who thought he or she was doing better than the team thought?

(BTW, as a shameless plug…I help leaders discover how their team really feels. Brave leaders learn more HERE.)

Experiment: The Little Things Matter

In making a first impression…

The little things matter…

A number of years ago, while I was pastoring another church, I felt I needed more buy-in from them in helping to lead the church. They were a great group of people, passionate about reaching the lost, but they had begun to neglect some of the little things that had to keep a church operating. I wanted to encourage them to be more observant about what needed doing. (To be candid, the women did most of the work, so it was the men who needed the most encouragement.)

I conducted an experiment with the male church leaders. I placed a Sunday bulletin on the floor of the men’s bathroom, right in front of the urinal. It stayed there through two Sundays and no one picked it up. At the following Wednesday night leadership meeting, I brought the bulletin with me. I asked, “Does anyone recognize this?” Actually it looked vaguely familiar to most of the men. :)

I wasn’t trying to be cruel, but it was a tangible reminder to them that when making a first impression, the little things matter. This was a church plant. We didn’t have a custodial staff for the building we rented. We were the custodial staff. If the bulletin was to be picked up, one of us needed to do it.

They instantly recognized that every man visiting our church in the last couple weeks had probably seen that bulletin on the floor of the men’s room. We only had one urinal…and we had very good coffee. :) Although it was a minor thing…just a bulletin on the floor…it had the potential to leave a larger impression; especially if that same visitor returned the next week to find the same bulletin still on the floor. (Of course, in a church plant, by the second week we’ll even plug you in to pick up bulletins off the bathroom floor. :) )

From that point, some of the men became more observant about the little things that needed attention. They started to take ownership in their roles as church leaders. I felt I had more participation in leading the church. It turned out to be a very helpful illustration.

Question: Would this same demonstration have worked in the women’s bathroom or would someone have picked it up? (Just curious)

Any other ideas? How could you help your team learn the principle that the little things matter?

7 Traits that Separate a Leader of Courage

Leadership requires guts. (I wrote about that HERE.)

You can’t lead if you aren’t willing to be courageous. I wrote about that HERE and HERE.

I continue, however, to observe people who claim to be leaders, yet seem to have no courage at all. Have you seen this trait?

I believe we need great followers. My son Nate writes that we need to teach “followership”. (Read his thoughts HERE.) If someone wants to lead, however, let them lead! Will the real leader, please stand up?

In my opinion…

Here are 7 Traits that Separate a Leader of Courage:

  • Takes risks others are unwilling to attempt…
  • Invest in people others are willing to dismiss…
  • Empowers people while other wait for them to completely prove themselves…
  • Faces conflicts other avoid…
  • Challenges the status quo with which others have grown contented…
  • Embraces changes others ignore…
  • Remains steadfast when others are departing…

I’ll be honest, as a leader, I can become timid towards each of the traits on this list…(other than maybe the embracing change one :) )  It’s not a matter of having no fear or being over confident in one’s abilities. For the courageous leader, it’s an issue of pushing through the adversity and obstacles that get in the way of achieving a worthy goal. It’s continually going back to the vision and doing whatever it takes to accomplish the vision. It’s embracing faith over fear and refusing to let past failures dictate future success. That’s what separates a leader of courage from the norm.

What would you add to my list?

7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Team

Chances are, if you’ve served on very many teams, that you’ve served on one that is dysfunctional. It appears to me that we have many to choose from in the organizational world. :) A dysfunctional team in simple terms is one that cannot operate at peak efficiency and performance because of a combination of negative characteristics.

If you have been on a dysfunctional team, then you’ve probably seen one or more of of the common traits found among a dysfunctional team. They do have commonalities.

Here are 7 signs of a dysfunctional team:

Team members don’t talk to each other…as much as they talk about each other…

Problems are never addressed; conflict is avoided…the real issues are continually ignored or excused…

No one takes responsibility…and everyone passes blame…

Communication usually brings more tension than progress…and no one is truly honest with each other…

The mention of change makes everyone nervous…and real progress has to be forced or controlled…

Only the leader gets recognition or can make decisions…and team members never feel valued or appreciated…

There are competing visions, goals or objectives….and it’s every team member for his or herself…

Have you served on a dysfunctional team?

(How many of these can you currently see on your team? If there are at least two or three and I’d say you may need to evaluate the team’s health…)

What other signs would you add to my list?

A Huge Thought from: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

I’m reading John Maxwell’s book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently”. I’m three-fourths finished and I’ve been reminded and learned some great stuff so far, but one thing hit me huge today. I see so much truth here from personal experience.

Maxwell claims, “Connectors live what they communicate”. The people who learn to connect with others best live the life they talk about when they communicate. Then Maxwell writes:

Credibility! Here’s how this works in any kind of relationship:

The first six months – communication overrides credibility.

After six months – credibility overrides communication. 

Then he closes that thought by writing, “Credibility is currency for leaders and communicators. With it, they are solvent; without it, they are bankrupt.” 

Wow! I love that! It’s so true. In the beginning of a relationship, you hang on what people say, but as the relationship matures, it doesn’t matter as much what they say…it matters what they do.

Do you see “credibility” and application here? 

Simplified 7-Step Roadmap to Success

In an organizational sense…

Here is a 7 step roadmap to success for a team:

Have a big God-given dream…

Get a clear vision of what success would look like…

Organize a great team…

Formulate a strategic plan of action steps to create a win…

Assign specific tasks to everyone on the team…

Keep pushing forward, even during difficult days, encouraging one another…

Celebrate along the way…

Have you served on a successful team?