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7 Things Leaders Should Stop Doing


As leaders, we have a finite amount of energy.

We either use that energy wisely or waste it. And one thing for sure, we never get it back.

Each day presents us with 24 hours in which our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional capacity is packaged. That capacity is dispersed through our God-given human energy. At the end of each day, our batteries need to be recharged.

There are some responsibilities you carry as a leader that tend to zap and drain your energy more than others. Things like a confrontational conversation that carries emotional intensity, or working on complex details of your church budget. But you must still do them anyway.

There are other things we do as leaders that consume and deplete our energy that we don’t have to do, and in fact should stop doing.

The scary thing is that they are sometimes embedded in our habits in such a way that we don’t realize we’re doing them. And even more scary, sometimes we do know and do them anyway.

So, I’ve written an important list of things that if you stop doing, you’ll accomplish more, realize a rise in your stamina (energy), and overall experience a higher level of satisfaction.

This is a unique list of practical items that don’t fit within one specific category and yet are essential for you and me as leaders to make sure we stop doing.

(Note: There are entire categories not included, such as your spiritual life, practical ministry, etc.)

Which one(s) speaks to you today?

7 Things Leaders Should Stop Doing:

1) Worrying about what others think of you.

You will be misunderstood, and you will make unpopular decisions, and not everyone will like you. If you lay awake at night worrying about these things, they’ll eat you alive.

It’s not easy, but let it go. That doesn’t mean you become callous and/or pretend you don’t care. It means do the right things, with wise counsel, and keep going.

2) Procrastinating difficult conversations.

If you’ve been leading for a while, you know that putting off a tough conversation only makes it worse. You will likely imagine it more difficult than it will actually be, which is energy draining, and the delay allows the problem to become larger.

Don’t move so fast that you are not prepared, but facing the tough conversations quickly often gives energy.

When you have the difficult conversation, you feel a sense of accomplishment, and often relief, because it went better than you expected.

Left unsolved, mistakes get bigger not better.

3) Showing up unprepared.

I know what it’s like to have a full schedule, with many things required of me and a to-do list that’s never done. It’s tempting to show up unprepared, almost “justifiable,” but it’s never a good idea.

In everything from the next talk you’ll give, to a meeting you’ll lead, the anxiety caused by not being prepared drains far more energy needed to prepare. And of course, you never feel good about it afterward.

4) Focusing on results over relationships.

As a leader, you are expected to produce results and simultaneously develop relationships. This is never easy, and it nearly always creates pressure if you allow results to rise above relationships.

Focusing on results over relationships may seem expedient at the moment, even pressure relieving, but over the long haul, it’s costly. The relational price tag is incredibly draining.

The bottom line is that over time, if you tend to genuine nurture and development of relationships, while you work diligently toward results, the fruit of your ministry will be greater and last longer.

5) Expecting those who follow you to know what you’re thinking.

There are two items on this list that speak to me personally, and this is one.

In some strange way, I have occasionally caught myself assuming others around me should know what I’m thinking. Perhaps I have allowed myself to assume something like, “Well, we’ve worked together a long time, they should know.” No, they shouldn’t.

That kind of faulty assumption is an energy killer because it wastes so much time, and it’s often counterproductive. If left unchecked over time, it can even cause conflict.

Speak up, make yourself clear, let those you work with know what you’re thinking.

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.