Some things you do everyday as a leader are helpful—others, not so much. Here are seven things you can easily banish starting today. Eliminating all of them (or most of them) will give you immediate traction.
1. Intention Without Action
No one will remember your intentions. The people who count on you only ever see your actions. That likely means no one’s going to stand next to your casket or urn and say, “He wished he were nicer,” or, “He had always hoped to be more strategic,” or, “She really wanted to overcome her fear.” Legacies never get built on intentions. So get over your intentions and start acting.
2. Words That Start With “Some”
If you want to get nothing meaningful done, use words that start with “some” a lot: somebody, someday, sometime, something. These words end up sounding like this: Somebody should do something about that sometime someday. Guaranteed, zero action happens. Ever. There’s only one “some“ word you can use. “Somehow” can be an amazing word when you’re up against an impossible task and are asked, “How on Earth will we do this?” and you reply, “I don’t know. But somehow we’ll figure it out.”
3. Unnecessary Meetings
Once you get beyond the creative process, the value of meetings—to nail down a few executional details or to sync up the team—is pretty low. For the most part, meetings are the enemy of work. Do your work instead.
Fear is the thief of hope. It kills leadership. It murders courage. If you’re going to be afraid, you should fear never accomplishing your mission. That will give you courage, or at least determination. And that, in turn, will grow your faith.
5. The Desire to Be Liked
Leadership requires you to take people to destinations they would not go without you. When you focus on being liked, you will instinctively try to please the people you’re leading. And when you do that, you will become confused, because no one agrees. You’ll be bending over backward to make everyone happy, which of course means that in the end, you will end up making no one happy.
Ambition can be a good thing, but selfish ambition is a different creature; it kills servants of God and turns them into servants of themselves.
7. Blaming Others
It’s so easy to blame everyone and everything else for your lack of progress as a leader. If you want to keep not making progress, keep blaming others. The opposite of blame is responsibility. If you think about the leaders you admire most, they’re probably the most responsible leaders you know. Great leaders never assign blame. Instead, they assume responsibility.
Carey Nieuwhof is founding and teaching pastor at Connexus Church in Toronto, Canada, a leadership consultant and author of several books. This article was originally published on CareyNieuwhof.com.