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September 14, 2023

The 3 Forces Holding You Back (And How to Fight Them)

By Craig Groeschel

When it comes to growth, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that you absolutely can grow as a leader. The bad news is that continued growth requires work to sustain.

Growth is never automatic or guaranteed. We don’t naturally drift toward growth. We drift toward complacency, complexity, and decline.

Below, let’s look at three forces fighting against your growth and give you practical strategies to fight back.

1. Unhealthy Mindsets

Unhealthy mindsets create unhealthy leaders and organizations.

Unhealthy mindsets include things like complacency, pride, risk aversion, stagnancy, competition, distraction, apathy, greed, and on and on.

Fight Back Against an Unhealthy Mindset

To defeat unhealthy mindsets, cultivate a growth mindset.

A great book on this subject is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.

Dweck outlines two kinds of mindsets:

  • A fixed mindset that is unwilling to move or change
  • A growth mindset that is flexible and adaptable

A growth mindset says, “I can get better” or “I am not good at this … yet.”

Dweck writes that those who have a growth mindset don’t fixate on now because they view themselves as always in a state of becoming.

They’re confident they’re going to become something better, so if they fail or find themselves in an unfavorable circumstance, they view it as a stepping stone to what’s next.

2. Unnecessary Complexity

Growth creates complexity and complexity kills growth.

One of your top responsibilities as a leader is to kill complexity. If you operate with complexity, you cannot operate with speed.

Many leaders experience initial growth and then taper off as they become successful. They can’t seem to ever get back to a season of rapid growth because they allowed complexity to take over.

Fight Back Against Complexity

Remove low-value rules, meetings, and distractions.

Great leaders lose their greatness when they start (or continue) doing things that don’t add value.

Any activities that don’t add value or things that cost more emotional and physical energy than they’re worth should be reevaluated.

Ask yourself, “Is this activity really moving the needle in my life?” Don’t confuse activity with productivity.

Look for anything that slows your pace or complicates the process. Do your best to eliminate organizational and leadership slack. Try these four practical steps:

  • Kill a rule.
  • Cut a meeting.
  • Remove a policy.
  • Empower a person.
  • Repeat the process until only the most important things have priority.

3. Underdeveloped Leadership

The potential of your organization rests on the strength of its leaders.

Look at yourself and your team. Are you fostering a trusting environment for adequate, important, and necessary feedback to happen? Do you and your team have permission to fail from time to time?

People grow best “in the game.” Don’t create a separate “growth” track or course for a subset of leaders; your whole organization should be on a growth track.

Growing leaders is not a program. It’s part of a healthy culture.

For more on developing leaders, listen to “How to Develop Leaders.”

Fight Back Against Underdeveloped Leadership

Don’t just see people as a means to get something done. See getting things done as a tool for developing people.

Two of the most developmental words you can say to people are “you decide.”

And what happens if you or your people fail? It’s okay. We’re not seeking perfection; we’re seeking growth.

Be aware of the “Developmental Dip.”

Any time a leader is entrusted with something new, there may be a short-term dip in quality.

Perhaps you could have done a certain task in one hour, and it takes the new leader two hours. That’s the dip. It’s expected, and it’s worth it because people grow best in the game.

Moving Forward

As you lead, be on the lookout for these three forces trying to hold you back.

Unhealthy mindsets, unnecessary complexity, and underdeveloped leadership have declared war on your growth. Will you fight back?

5 Practical Strategies for Building Momentum

Healthy, growing teams build up momentum. Momentum can be your best friend, but the lack of it can be your worst enemy.

Go a step further, and learn how to build professional, personal, and spiritual momentum with this practical momentum worksheet.


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