For the past two years, I’ve been doing my best to lead our Kids’ Ministry staff team. The team consists of 8 paid staff who are all very gifted leaders. Each of them has their own way of communicating, their own set of needs from me, but one common passion to reach kids with the Gospel.
I cannot even express how humbling this experience has been. In the mixture of wins and fails, I’ve learned a few things that I think are critical to leading any team. Here are my 4 essentials for leading a team:
Take Suggestions & Make Decisions
I’ve learned that leading a team requires me to be a good listener. My natural inclination is to make decisions and move forward. While this is necessary at times, I’ve come to realize that a better way is to listen to others’ input and reach a collaborative decision. Even if we need to make a hard decision, this gives me the opportunity to communicate the how and why behind decision so that everyone can feel confident in the decision. When the decision is made and it’s time to move forward, I feel more energy and excitement because we are all moving together.
Look for Ways to Add Value to Each Team Member
I remember hearing John Maxwell speak on this point about 12 years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. He says that leading people is really an opportunity to add value to their life. It could be picking up coffee for the team in the morning, a note of thanks, public praise, or meeting one on one to hear how they’re doing. If I want the team to be growing, then I have to be faithful to water it.
Make Room for Growth, Change, and Failure
I can’t stand to be micromanaged, and I suspect that my team feels the same way. I am not always the best at delegating authority, but I do know that the team needs the freedom to grow in their leadership, question how we could change to do things better, and take risks that might result in failure.
Be a Servant to Your Team
We’ve probably all suffered the effects of a leader who has taken advantage of their position. I know I’ve been guilty of it. But I want to be the leader that doesn’t ask anything of my team that I haven’t already done or am not willing to do myself. I want to use my position to serve them.
I’m learning that I can’t always be in the trenches with my team because I need to be leading in the ways that only I can lead. But I know the power of serving alongside them when I can. Those times help me to see what they do and how valuable it is to our team. When I have to lead from the front, I hope they trust that I care about them and their role on our team.
Unfortunately, I’ve learned these essentials more through my failures than successes. I’m still learning. I hope to continue learning and practicing these essentials for leading a team.