Beware of Sideways Energy

The greatest threat to forward momentum might not come against you from outside, but alongside you.

Most of us stay keenly aware of the distraction and disruption that come at us head on. On the road it becomes obvious in a split second if someone from the other side of the road starts veering and heading straight in our direction. Leaders plan ahead and anticipate the apparent obstacles that might disrupt their plan.

The greatest detriment to forward momentum on any team is not an opposite force working against you; it is the subtle pull within the team towards sideways energy.

Sideways energy is not obvious in the moment; it causes a slow drift away from focus. It is the greatest threat to forward momentum because it stalls out progress by pulling our attention away from the main thing. (click to tweet)

In my experience sideways energy is often not intentional, which is another reason why it can be so dangerous. For a good leader it is easy to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What is difficult is identifying the words and behavior that are self- debilitating.

Sideways energy can show itself in many different forms. Here are a few questions to help you identify if sideways energy is present:

  • Do you have a problem or issue with the vision/direction of the team? If you do, are you discussing that issue with the leader or with your peers?
  • Are there teammates who you have current relational strife with? Does the relational breakdown cause you to serve differently?
  • Do you carry the culture of your team? Or do you bring your culture in and try to cause others to adjust to you?
  • Are there any agenda’s you are trying to graft into the vision of the team? Are you placing your agenda ahead of the team’s vision?

If you work with people, sideways energy will happen. The key is to address it head on with diligence and humility. People rarely want to cause sideways energy, so helping redirect that energy is essential for keeping momentum and helping the person flourish. (click to tweet)

One thought on “Beware of Sideways Energy

  1. I think personal issues of a team member or leader outside of the team, can drain the team energy to power the personal ones. Emotional pressures are a common suspect.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s