Recognizing strengths on your team

One challenge that a leader  can have on the mission field is a leading team that you did not choose to begin with. There are a few cases where the team leader can choose his team but most of the time you inherit. In some cases the organization chooses new personnel for you. When everyone is so different regarding personalities, competencies, experiences, tenure on the field, etc.. how do you  become an effective team? How can you be an effective team leader? Would it just be better to work by yourself?

One thing that I have seen work effectively over the years is for the team leader to get to know his team members. I know that sounds quite simple but you would be surprised how many do not take this step.

How do you get to know them?

Spending Time with them -  What if you just get to know them a bit?  Take some time with them with no agenda and no note taking to just simply sit and talk and have a drink or share a meal together. This sounds way to simple but it works. Remember, leave your agenda (both written and hidden) at home. You will still be

Listening to them - This requires a little more concentration on your end. You have to actively listen.  Ask good open ended questions and then listen. Pay attention to them. Turn that iphone off (that was for me).

– Find out what they care about. Find out about their family. Find out about their interests and hobbies. Find out about their experiences in ministry and ways they have seen God move.

– Ask them about their spiritual gifts. Many people have taken spiritual gift inventories. There are numerous ones online. I like the ones where the person identifies what he / she feel are their spiritual gifts but they also ask a few close friends or co-workers what they observe.

Observing them in group settings or in ministry settings – The purpose of this is not to evaluate them and find their weaknesses but really just the opposite. Find out what they do well and then empower them to do that more often. Help them develop their strengths.

A Result: You get to know your team members.  You will begin realizing what makes them tick, what they do well, what challenges them beyond their competency, etc.. You will start observing the areas where they can make the biggest contribution on the team.

Many times we are more concerned about making our team conform to our way of leading instead of us being willing to be flexible in the way we lead for the sake of the team.

Another result: The team will be more effective and the individuals on your team will be more fulfilled.

Most teams have some goals and objectives.

How do we as a team work together to accomplish those? We need to utilize each other’s giftedness. A good team leader knows the gifts of his team members and uses that to develop the team. Chances are no one person on your team has all of the gifts but each person can be a contributor (of course providing they are willing but that is another issue for another post).

more soon.

3 Responses to “Recognizing strengths on your team”

  1. Kim T.
    October 17, 2010 at 3:43 AM #

    Great Post – thanks for sharing. Love the perspective of the leader being the flexible one – that’s something I pray I remember.

    • Larry
      October 18, 2010 at 9:44 AM #

      Thanks. Every once in a while I get a good idea (smile) but the hard part on this one is implementing the flexability part as a leader. We feel that since we have been given a responsibility to lead that we should in fact lead. While this is true I also believe that we often distort it and start believing that our way is the right way and only way. This is when we become inflexible.
      I am still on this journey.


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