How to get the most out of your team

First published on: 15th November 2018

How to get the most out of your Team

There’s an old joke about how joining a Church is similar to approaching a Helicopter. You’re in danger of being hit by rotas.

Unfortunately for so many people, joining a team at church can become so much about just filling needs in a busy church schedule. Whether it’s manning an info point, serving refreshments, operating the AV system or leading Worship, volunteering and serving within your expression of church is a biblical principle clearly seen in the book of Acts. The Apostles appointed helpers to oversee some of the more admin roles in the early Church, allowing the Apostles to focus on the visionary leadership and teaching of the message. So why do so many see volunteering as a burden, or even worse, a cause leading to burnout?

In my own experience of both leading and serving on teams in my Church context, I’ve learned a few invaluable lessons on how to get the most out of your team, without losing the heart and passion for serving the living body of Christ.

Communicate the WHY, Entrust the How:

No matter which team you’re leading, you’re playing a part in the Church’s journey and vision that God has called it to. You might also have an individual vision or mission statement for your team or ministry. When you’re leading your team, are you including them in this vision? Does your team know the heart behind, and the reason WHY they serve on your team?

Whether it’s a hospitality team serving hot drinks, or its the worship team on the platform, a team will be more productive and fruitful when each individual has bought into the vision and are personally invested in the journey.

As a leader, our primary goal should be to raise up more leaders. One of the best ways to do this is to delegate roles out, and see how your team gets on with them.

As a Team Leader myself, I’ve experienced many times the fear and worry that something won’t be completed to the standard I’d personally produce or expect. This is one of the tensions of leadership. Unfortunately, the only way we can learn if we can trust someone is to do just that! Trust them! As a leader, we set targets and goals for our our teams, we communicate the WHY, but we can delegate the HOW to them. How they get to the goal is up to them, give responsibility over and support them where needed, but allow them to work out how to achieve the goal. If the Team Member is invested in the vision of the Church, you’ll not only develop a great team, but you’ll be developing great leaders too!

Communicate Clearly:

It’s well documented that in leadership, Communication is King. We also need to bear in mind that communication is only ever as good as what is received. Clarity is so important in team communication. During a Team Meeting, one good way to check that your message is received is to just do a quick whip around and get your members to repeat their tasks back to you. This way you can check that they’ve received your message.

It’s the common cliche that there is no ‘I’ in team. On more than one level this is true, but on another, it’s also false. A great leader recognises that each team is made up of individual people, and each person reacts and responds differently. It’s important for a Leader to recognise each team member and communicate in a way that is effective for that person. An activity that can be insightful and fun for a team is the True Colours test. Essentially, by answering questions you can find out a person’s Character. How do they naturally express and receive recognition, praise and love. This can be a great way for you to learn how to effectively communicate with your team. It can also provide red flags on how not to communicate. You can find out more about the test here.   

Value each member:

It’s inherent in every person. No one wants to labour in vain. Everyone wants to feel like they have purpose, that their efforts matter and that they are valued. A valued and well motivated person is not only more productive, but they are attractive to others and will create an atmosphere that others want to be a part of. As a Leader, we need to ensure that every team member, whether its a door steward, offering counter or Children’s pastor feels valued. I’ve found that there are two steps to help with this journey.

1. I see you

Let the team member know that you see what they do. In your conversations, mention some of the things you’ve seen them doing. Even if it’s the simple or mundane tasks, recognise that they are doing these.

2. Be over the top appreciative.

Saying ‘Thanks’ is great, and it’s always nice to be thanked for serving. Think on what a reasonable level of appreciation would be for each task accomplished, add a bit extra, and then double it. Make a thing of singing praises about your team. It’s worth bearing in mind that each member might recognise and receive praise in different ways, where some might best receive it through words of encouragement, others perhaps through a physical gift, or a firm high five. It would be beneficial to work out how each of your team members ticks and what their personality is like.

There’s no top super secret to building an effective and efficient team, but by implementing some of these lessons, I certainly saw my team’s productivity grow. If you’ve got anything to add to this, we’d love to hear it!  

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