Every time he saw me, a recently hired 16 year old (Bongiorno Conference Center kitchen employee) he would say, “Hey boss, what’s up?” After a half dozen comments, I told him, “I’m not the boss; I’m the team leader.” The look on his face said it all. His next question was, “What’s a team leader?”
This made me think; we talk team all the time. Team building is the hot topic in business, church, education and sports. Everybody wants to build a great team. But what lies at the core of a team?
If you Google team building you will get hundreds, if not thousands, of sites for books, seminars, trainings, podcasts, YouTube videos and much, much more.
I’ve built several teams in my lifetime; some were super effective and some not so effective—so what’s the difference?
With a team, all members share input as well as all sharing in the outcome. Everyone owns it. Everyone has a vested interest in winning.
How does one develop good team members?
I pray for God to send me and surround me with the right people. Jesus said in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
It is rare that God ever sends us plug-and-play, ready-to-go phenomenal team members. I believe He sends us good people and wants us to develop them.
I treat people the way I want to be treated. Be kind, generous, and genuine. I determine to go the second mile in serving those God sends me.
ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR STRENGTHS
I look at their strengths (Strengths Finder 2) and try to place them in areas that maximize their strengths. People who serve in their strengths seem to maximize their service.
I strive to know them and understand them. We look at all of the team’s personality/temperaments (Personality Plus). I hope to help them understand who they are and how they are wired. This helps us know each other better. As a team we begin to understand the strengths and weaknesses of every personality and how we function emotionally, as a parent, at work, as a friend and as a team member. As we begin to know team members, we begin to build trust with one another.
SHARE THE WINS
I try to help each team member understand they are making a difference, and together we make a tremendous difference in the lives of people. When people know their work on a team really counts, they will have a tendency to make their commitment to the team count even more.
HELP THEM SUCCEED
I try to give my team members certain markers they can use to measure their success. They need to know they’re doing a better job today than they did yesterday. There is a sense of engagement when you can measure your success.
WELCOME HEALTHY CONFLICT
As our appreciation of one another grows through knowing and understanding team members, our trust also grows. I welcome healthy conflict. Healthy conflict is not to be taken personally; it’s not about team members, it’s about building a better outcome and team purpose.
True teams share decisions. There is always a team leader who is responsible, but the pressure of leadership is easier to bear when there is a collective of leaders reaching those decisions.
The wisdom of teams:
In a true team, when one wins, we all win. Allow team members to make mistakes without consequences, just don’t let them make the same mistake twice (then they haven’t learned). When team members step it up and fail, I take the blame if they succeed, I give them the credit. I’ve said it before, one is too small of a number to make a great difference. Our team will always accomplish greater feats than I ever could alone. I am indebted to them.