There’s a secret fear most leaders have: losing people.
It can seem so hard to reach people that keeping them that losing a customer, a client, a staff member, a person in your church, or even a subscriber to your email list can be heart-wrenching for many leaders.
I get that.
I have wrung my hands and lost sleep over people walking away more than a few times in my time in leadership.
There are times you should be really concerned with a great person leaves your team, or a fantastic leader exits your mission. That should definitely make you think twice.
And as someone (or several people exit), the discussion at the leadership table will end up with someone saying:
Look, we can’t afford to lose people.
Trust me, there’s always someone at the leadership table who thinks we can’t afford to lose anyone.
That’s simply not true.
There are a few kinds of people you can’t afford to keep.
In fact, sometimes the people you are most afraid of losing are the people you can’t afford to keep.
Here’s the strange paradox of leadership: some of the people you think you can’t afford to lose are the very people you can’t afford to keep.
So how do you know the difference?
Well, here are 7 kinds of people you can’t afford to keep if you want to move your mission forward.Some of the people you think you can't afford to lose are the very people you can't afford to keep. Click To Tweet
1. Perpetual critics
This takes a lot of maturity, but a wise leader always gleans whatever he or she can from critics.
There’s always something to learn, and even if you have to discard most of it, there’s usually a kernel of truth that can help you grow and flourish in the future. (Here are some tips on how to handle criticism like a pro.)
Some people are just perpetual critics though. They rarely have anything to say.
So what should you watch for when you think you have a perpetual critic? Watch for what they contribute.
I mean everything from positive ideas, to heart, to effort, to yes…dollars. Look for skin in the game.
Critical thinkers who make positive contributions to the mission are often your friends, not your enemies.
But beware of perpetual critics. Perpetual critics are easy to spot—they contribute nothing and criticize everything.
That kind of critic…you can’t afford to keep. They’re sucking your soul and everyone’s soul dry.Perpetual critics are easy to spot—they contribute nothing and criticize everything. Click To Tweet
2. People who are opposed to everything
This group is a slight variation on the perpetual critic.
They may not have a steady stream of contrary ideas. In fact, they might say nothing. Until it comes time to change, that is.
Then, quietly or loudly, they’ll let you know they’re opposed. Now rattled, they block change, or at least try to.
Being opposed to some things is normal. Being opposed to everything is dysfunction and destructive.
You can’t build a lasting future on what you’re against. You can only build a lasting future on what you’re for.Being opposed to some things is normal. Being opposed to everything is dysfunction and destructive. You can't build a lasting future on what you're against. You can only build a lasting future on what you're for. Click To Tweet
3. Toxic People
We’re all a little unhealthy. I am. You are. And so is everyone we work with.
But there’s a key difference between a little unhealthy and toxic.
Unhealthy people want to get well. Toxic people have no desire to get well, usually have a super low self-awareness and sometimes actually want to inflict harm.
It’s not that you can’t afford to lose toxic people. The truth is, you can’t afford to keep them.
Here are some insights into creating a healthy culture and letting toxic people go.It's not that you can't afford to lose toxic people. The truth is, you can't afford to keep them. Click To Tweet
4. Chronically Underperforming People
We all have bad days. We’re all late sometimes.
But face it, you have people in your organization who only have bad days. Who are always late. Who invent a new excuse every 12 minutes.
You know who I’m talking about.
You can’t afford to keep them.
But wait, you argue, shouldn’t we help them?
Let me guess. The person that popped into your mind when reading this is someone you’ve been trying to help for the last year…or two…or five, and they haven’t changed a bit. So what exactly are you accomplishing?
Even if they have a solvable problem, they either don’t want to solve it or you’re not the one who’s going to help them. Move on, friend.
Go invest that time with your best people or someone in the middle who wants to grow…and watch them soar.
5. People with Hidden Agendas
In every organization, there’s only really one agenda: the mission.
Competing agendas is a problem…but if the competing agendas are out in the open, you can at least discuss them and reconcile them. Eventually, if someone won’t align with the unifying mission, they may have to go.
Hidden agendas are a whole different thing.
When someone won’t be honest about what they’re trying to accomplish, or won’t discuss it, it corrodes the team and mission like few other things do.
Hidden agendas make trust impossible.Hidden agendas make trust impossible. Click To Tweet
6. People who only have a vision of what the future shouldn’t be
As a leader, you have a vision of what the future should be.
Some people only have a vision of what the future shouldn’t be.
That’s a problem.
You can’t build a positive mission on a negative view of the future. If someone can only tell you what the future shouldn’t be, you’ll never get to a better future.You can't build a positive mission on a negative view of the future. If someone can only tell you what the future shouldn't be, you'll never get to a better future. Click To Tweet
7. People who are married to their personal preferences
We all like things a certain way. Me too.
But there are people who prefer their personal preferences over your organization’s progress.
The music’s too loud. Too soft…too new…too old. Too…whatever.
Great team members will often sacrifice their personal preferences for the sake of missional progress. Other’s won’t.
If you have someone who continually lets their personal preferences stand in the way of organizational progress, you can’t afford to keep them.Great team members will often sacrifice their personal preferences for the sake of missional progress. Click To Tweet
Practical Help On Church Growth
Getting a stuck church growing, or helping a church that’s reaching new people grow even further can seem daunting.
It doesn’t have to be.
Whether you’re a church that isn’t growing, has plateaued, or whether you wish your church was growing faster than it is, I’d love to help you break through. That’s why I created the Church Growth Masterclass.
The Church Growth Masterclass is everything I wish I knew about church growth when I got into ministry more than 20 years ago.
Naturally, I can’t make a church grow. You can’t make a church grow. Only God can do that.
But I believe you can position your church to grow.
You can knock down the barriers that keep you from growing. You can eliminate the things that keep your church from growing and implement some strategies that will help you reach far more people. You can clarify why your current approach isn’t working with a post-modern culture and how to fix that, without changing the message.
I’d love to help you with all of this in the Church Growth Masterclass.
In the Masterclass I’ll help you discover:
- The 10 reasons your church isn’t growing
- Why even committed church-goers aren’t attending as often as before
- How to tell if your church leaders are getting burned out
- The 5 keys to your church better impacting millennials.
- What to do when a church wants to grow … but not change
- 5 essentials for church growth
- 5 disruptive church trends to watch—and how to respond
- How to increase church attendance by increasing engagement.
The Masterclass includes a complete set of videos that you can play with your team, board or staff, PDF workbooks that will help you tackle the issues you’re facing, and bonus materials that will help you navigate the most pressing issues facing churches that want to reach their cities today.
What Do You See?
Getting your organization healthy can be a significant step to getting it growing.
So next time you face critics who are threatening to walk out the door, don’t ask yourself if you can afford to lose them.
Ask if you can afford to keep them.
It might completely change your approach…and your decisions.The next time you face people who are threatening to walk out the door, don’t ask yourself if you can afford to lose them. Ask if you can afford to keep them. Click To Tweet
Any other kind of person you can’t afford to keep? Scroll down and leave a comment!