Three Statements that Can Wreck Your Leadership

Attitude is a funny thing. How we view the world—and the things that the people we lead perceive that we value—is shown in small interactions over a long period of time. For instance, it doesn’t matter how often a CEO of a retail chain says that he values the customer; if his conversations and small, daily choices show otherwise, those around him who know him best understand what he really values.

The things that we talk about and the things that we say in the small moments reveal what we really value. It could be that what you’re communicating in those small moments is that what you really value is…you. These three statements—if you say them too often—have the potential to wreck any positive influence you have on the people you lead.

“I did”

There’s nothing wrong with a deep satisfaction about something you worked hard to accomplish. When you put some hustle and sweat into a project or initiative, it feels good when it actually works out the way that you hoped. But if most of your statements out of your mouth are along the lines of “I did,” you might be taking most of the credit for something that was a team effort. If you want to chip away at your team’s morale, start taking too much credit for yourself rather than giving it to your team. In addition, “I did” statements in ministry fail to give credit where it’s really due: to the One who works in the hearts of the people you are serving, and who enabled you to do what you do in the first place.

“I am”

When you’re the leader of a department, organization, or local church, it can be tempting to frequently remind others that what you say goes because, well, you’re the one in charge. When you rely on your position or title to motivate others—especially when that title allows you to decide who keeps their jobs—you’re not really leading people; you’re just scaring them. “I am” statements that point to your credentials or title don’t inspire or influence people. They just remind people that they have to do what you say, even though they don’t want to.

“I will”

Confidence is a must in a leader. But overconfidence in yourself, your talents, your ability to control all future events comes across as a lack of humility. “I will” statements communicate that you are more interested in your own success than the success of your team. In addition, and “I will” attitude tries to take control of our future from God, who is the only who is really sovereign over our future, anyway.

Instead, try:

  • We did…
  • We are…
  • We will…

And better yet:

  • God did…
  • God is…
  • God will…

A Three-Step Guide to Communicating Change

Drawing sketch

If you’re a leader, chances are you like to create change. Casting vision—dreaming of a better future—is simply a part of leading a team, organization, or local church. The thing is, a lot of people don’t like change. Or at least, they think they don’t like change. To most people, change is scary. And if you’re […]

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Leadership: Making Decisions vs. Solving Problems

a missing piece in a square built from tangram pieces, a traditi

What does it mean to be a good leader? A common perspective on leadership is that a leader’s role is to make the right decisions, and the best leaders are simply those who make the best decisions. In this scenario, the leader’s team—the people who work for the leader—are to carry out the leader’s decision […]

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Reaching Your Community: Short-Term Mission Trip or Sold-Out Missionaries?

Vector horizontal illustration of big city and skyscrapers with clouds sky.

In the last generation or two, the primary way that churches and ministry leaders in our (Western) culture have attempted to reach people who don’t yet know Jesus has been to build strategies around an “If you build it, they will come” approach. The church building was the hub, and we only had to wait for […]

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5 Truths about Parenting and Leadership

Truths about Parenting and Leadership

I happen to be both a parent and a ministry leader. Ironically, I spent four years in graduate school to learn more about being a pastor, but had zero preparation for the more important job. Still, there is a lot in common with the ministry and parenting hats that I wear. In my almost eight years […]

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Five Reasons Why Preachers Should Talk About Money and Possessions

Money and Possessions

There are few topics that make a preacher uneasy like talking about money does. I get it; it’s difficult to talk about money without sounding like you either A) are being judgmental or legalistic or B) are desperate to raise some cash for the church budget. As a result, many pastors only talk about money and […]

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Five Ways to Reach Your Goals in the New Year

Goals in the New Year

It’s a new year. As many are quick to point out, there’s not much different this week than last week—other than that most of us have gone back to work. But it’s a new year nonetheless, and it’s a great time to reflect on the past and what you hope to be different in the future. […]

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The True Meaning of Christmas, by Linus (and Charlie Brown)

Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Christmas Eve tradition in our house is to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. This scene gets me every time. Merry Christmas from the McVeigh family!

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Manage the Christmas Chaos


If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, December is fun, right? Unfortunately, most ministry leaders I’ve run into don’t feel that way. In fact, most people I know in vocational ministry look forward to the last week in December when they finally get some breathing room. It’s not that we don’t love Christmas or what […]

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