Logo Loading

Enter your keyword


10 reasons why people disengage

10 reasons why people disengage

A pastor I spoke with today was struggling with how to deal with disengaged leaders.  I shared with him  a “Top 10” list I frequently share with leaders I coach. congregations and I thought I’d share the list with you too.

1.We assume that people know the “Why”. We spend too much time talking about logistics and the “whats” rather than reminding people of the “whys.”  Every team needs to have their own “I Have a Dream” speech.
2.We fail to honor their passions and use their greatest gifts. You don’t have to motivate people when they’re passionate about something. Find out what energizes people and unleash this energy towards fulfilling your vision. If you don’t know what energizes people, ask them! Always start with where the energy is!
3.We fail to tap their wisdom. The best leaders I’ve worked valued each person’s perspective and wisdom. Some of the best gifts I’ve received from leaders and colleagues has been a clarifying remark, a new perspective or an insight to one of my blindspots.  Don’t neglect the counsel and wisdom of those around you.
4.We give them tasks but not tools or the authority to get the job done. We need to support and resource the people we give responsibility to. Ask volunteers, “What do you need from me or other team members to do your best work?”
5.We care more about results than the relationships. If we see a person as simply a resource to get something done and not as a friend and colleague in ministry, we miss out in one of greatest joys of ministry. This is one area where I think we can have our cake and eat it too.  We can build great relationships as we achieve our desired results.
6. We delegate but don’t develop. A leader’s job is to help grow disciples and help people live more fully into their vocation. How are you developing the people around you? Do you help them discover, develop and deploy their gifts?
7. We micromanage. Provide people with a clear picture of the desired outcomes and allow them to find the best ways to achieve them. We need to find ways to provide structure without stifling people’s creativity.
8. We spend too little time encouraging the heart. The book, The Leadership Challenge, reminds us of the importance of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of others. Congregations need to hear the short-term wins that are regularly occurring to maintain momentum, and these celebrations provide ample opportunities to acknowledge the gifts and efforts of people.
9. We don’t deliver on our promises.  Volunteers often say they feel neglected once they’ve said yes. They report not being trained, supported and encouraged. Good leaders take time for training and frequently ask, “How can I support you in your efforts?”
10. We fail to care for their souls.  Do you pray for your volunteers regularly?  Do you encourage them to take the next step in their faith journey? If our first job is to grow disciples, what are we doing with to nurture the faith of the God has entrusted us with?

These reasons remind us of the opportunities we have to encourage, empower, equip and energize people who are engaged in ministry.  What are some things you regularly do to help people feel valued and remain engaged?


Some Toughts (5)

  1. Sara
    added on 5 Apr, 2013

    I agree wholeheartedly. I find that many people abandon the plan before they truly work hard making sure they have the right people in the right place. Unclear goals are a major Achilles heel as well.

  2. Luann Weber
    added on 5 Apr, 2013

    Very true……thank you!

  3. Chad Ryberg
    added on 8 Apr, 2013

    So very true! I think to even carry this thought out more that sometimes we do not realize that people are not fully engaged because things are going along ‘okay’ and we seem to have success. We find we have to work hard to get things but done but in the end we generally get things done. Looking at this list I realize that when we give people the opportunities to utilize their gifts and passions and equip them properly, we will have more success and an easier time as leaders.

    Sometimes I think we need to have more excellent failures so we can be more aware of the actual state of our people and our leaders.

  4. Whitney
    added on 15 Apr, 2013

    We sometimes refer disengaged leaders to those who “don’t care” or “are too busy with other things” And that isn’t always true, sometimes they just need a little extra boost inorder to get them engaged in leading! I check in with my volunteers weekly and email them quite frequently to see how things are going and if they need anything.

  5. Jeremy Hall
    added on 11 Sep, 2013

    i drop the ball on this a lot! there are so many times when passing something off to someone else, or teaching someone to do something, or training someone to lead will be more time consuming and (in my mind) less productive than i would be doing it alone. but when i do that i miss my chance to be an agent of expansion and growth in people, and miss opportunities to connect them to the ministry of the church, and its something that i have had to confess to people who have missed opportunities b/c of my fear/selfishness/business

Add your review

Your email address will not be published.