We, as Worship Leaders, are shepherds, not ranchers. That means, as leaders, we walk in front of the people we are leading, not behind them as if we are driving them. We need (and should want) to give them confidence that we are headed somewhere worthwhile, and they can follow us there. But, along the way, there are a few common mistakes we might make that can/will undermine the confidence they have in following us anywhere.
Below are FIVE of the BEST ways to demotivate your team – straight from the school of “hard knocks.”
- Subtly remind them they are not important. Ignore their suggestions. Treat them differently than you do your inner circle. Never have time for them – and there are a million other ways you can keep them in their place. After all, you wouldn’t want a junior staffer to think they matter, would you?
- Isolate team members from the lines of communication. Foster the attitude that every person should keep to himself and do their job. Make everything be on a “need to know” basis.
- Give no feedback. Make the assumption that team members never need feedback on their performance. Serving in a vacuum where no one needs (or cares) to know what they are doing is ok…no harm will be done. Feedback isn’t necessary like oxygen.
- Never involve the team member in the decision making process. Let them sit in their cubicle awaiting their marching orders. Never ask what they think. Never free them to make their own decisions. And, never ever include them in management level exercises. Their opinion really doesn’t matter – does it? But really, who is the loser in this scenario?
- Remove yourself from their proximity. Stay in your office. Go in and out through the private door. Make no effort to know anything about these people. Never learn or use their names and never sit in their space. If you need them, only call them to your office so they will always be reminded where they are in the organization.
There are obviously more ways to demotivate, but these are the BIG FIVE. This really will impact your effectiveness in leading people. Pay attention to how you are doing with these.
As a matter of fact, grade yourself on these five – on a scale of 1-5, 1 being “This is true of me,” and 5 being, “Not true at all.” What’s your score? If you score higher than a 10, you’ve got some work to do.
A wonderful example of demotivation is a an organization I’ve heard about whose staff includes a number of team members that are long on skill, but short on experience. Instead of building up their younger staff members who are still finding the confidence they need to perform well, the leaders consistently send subtle messages to the younger staffers that they are not important – not as contributors or as people. For instance, at a special outing with senior staff and guests, the younger staff were required to be there, but not allowed to eat with the rest of the group. Instead, they were turned away and sent to the fast food place down the road. It was humiliating and a very real de-motivator.
Now, I wrote these as if they only apply to a team that works with you full time – these also apply to volunteers… except multiply them all by two.
We’re not in the music business. We’re in the people business. We’ve got to do this well.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.