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5 Trends in Team Leadership No Leader Can Ignore in 2018

5 Trends In Team Leadership No Leader Can Ignore In 2018

This isn’t 1998 or even 2008, but too many leaders lead like it is.

And as a result, they can’t figure out why their team isn’t motivated, why they have a high turnover and why younger leaders don’t really want to work for them…or are always looking for a better opportunity.

Things have changed significantly in the workplace over the last decade or two, and too many bosses and organizations are still leading using old methods.

Here are five trends in team leadership every leader should be aware of because, well, things are changing, fast.


If you check the business section of newspapers in major cities (there are still newspapers, and increasingly, that’s a good thing), you’ll still see announcements that so and so became Executive Vice President of marketing at XCo, or that someone became Regional Director of Sales at YCo.

In a church context, you got an email letting you know that a seminary colleague became district supervisor or president of a seminary.

Guess what? Nobody cares.

Not anymore.

Authority used to rest in a position. Now it rests in a person.

Think about it. When you were in school, there were teachers you loved and teachers you loathed. The position of ‘teacher’ or even ‘department head’ meant nothing to you. You just wanted a good teacher.

Influence has nothing to do with position, and everything to do with the person.

The two factors that most powerfully impact your influence at work these days are your personal integrity and strategic excellence.

You can have an incredible strategy and be leading a rapidly growing organization, but if you’re a jerk, your team’s not sticking around for long.

Conversely, you can have exceptional character and incredible integrity, but if you don’t bring strategic excellence that generates results to your work, you won’t have a high performing team, you’ll just have friends who love and respect you (as a person).

Influencing people is about who you are and what you help them accomplish, not about the position you hold.


One of the first characteristics of Millennials as they entered the workforce over a decade ago was that they were extremely cause-driven. They didn’t want to work to pad the bottom line or stuff the pockets of an owner or make a leader look good—they wanted to make a difference.

You know the stereotype: Millennials want to change the world and believe they can do it.

That’s laudable, and it has spread beyond just Millennials to be the thing most people are seeking.

Again, before you roll your eyes, remember (older leaders), you raised them to have values like these. And some of them are doing it. So cut the cynicism. (Wondering how cynical you are? Take this quiz.)

What this means though is that your mission is more important than ever.

Leaders who want to preserve the institution, pad the bottom line or simply grow the organization will always struggle to attract and keep young leaders.

For the church, this should be easy. If you’re truly mission-driven (you want to reach people or impact your community), your ethos has an instant appeal to younger adults. Just keep the mission central.

If you’re in business, profit won’t be nearly the motivator that cause is. If you don’t know what your cause is, figure it out.

The best way to attract and keep young leaders is to work with them to accomplish a greater purpose.

At Connexus Church, our rallying cry is to create a church unchurched people love to attend and lead people into a growing relationship.

In my own company where my team works on this blog, podcast, my speaking and writing, the mission is to help people thrive in life and leadership.

Leaders, if the mission isn’t bigger than you, you need a new mission.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.