Saturday, March 7, 2009

Equipping the Team for Success

I was reminded about an important aspect of leadership while in church the other day.

Good leaders equip their team members to do the work. The real problem is when the leader abrogates this important task and forgets how to interact and equip the team members.

This is biblical! Read Ephesians 4:11-12. It speaks to the leaders and what they are supposed to do for the team members--equip them.

"It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ," (Eph 4:11-12, NET Bible)

These verses struck me as being applicable to many areas of life--and especially teams. Churches are, after all, teams of people working together for an important outcome. The world borrows lots of ideas from the Church and then changes them a bit and calls them the product of "Renaissance thinking" or some other moniker. But we know where they really come from.

This concept works for teams. The leaders need to equip the team members to do their jobs. The leaders must not do the jobs--but be about getting the resources, and training, and developing the enthusiasm in the team to successfully accomplish the mission or task.

I've been part of teams where the leader has great ideas, and great vision; but doesn't provide the team members the skills or the desire to achieve the end state. It is sad. Because the ideas are great. But the execution fails because the leader isn't doing the job and therefore, the team can't do its job.

Churches can be like this too. With paid staffs and professional pastors, the membership may develop the idea that if they throw enough money at the problem--they will succeed. That is a sure sign that the pastors and teachers aren't doing their jobs--equipping the members to do the work. Somewhere the idea gets turned that the pastors and teachers are doing the work. And some pastors may thrive on this--being the key cog in the wheel. These pastors may even be afraid that if the team gets too good, they won't be needed. But it's not true.

Sometimes team leaders are their own worst enemies, too. They say they want the team members to move out and do the work--but when it comes right down to it they are afraid to let the team do its mission. They throw up roadblocks to success--their own success as it would be. The create a dysfunctional dependency-based relationship where the team cannot--no is not allowed, to do its work without the direct and intimate involvement of the leader. How are they going to learn?

I have seen this over and over again. Leaders cripple rather than equip their team because they are afraid the team won't need them.

I think what this verse and what I take away from all of this is--charge them up and send them out.

Equip the team for success. Give the team members the tools and enthusiasm to do their tasks and then LET THEM DO IT! Yeah, there will be mistakes, but consider these as teaching points.

The team will be stronger and will begin to meet is tasks and perform its mission and purpose.

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