Today’s post is a guest post from my friend and co-worker, Jeff Brodie. I think one of Jeff’s spiritual gifts is insight. Few leaders I know have the organizational or relational insight that Jeff does. This is good news for you. Jeff’s launching his brand new blog this week. Two things:
First, if you like the kinds of things you read here, you’ll love Jeff’s new blog (I promise).
Second, if you subscribe to Jeff’s blog via email, you can win a free signed copy of one of my books (Leading Change without Losing it or Parenting Beyond Your Capacity – your choice). Jeff will be drawing winners from among the first 50 subscribers to his blog. There are 5 books available to be won total. So head on over and check out his blog (and subscribe).
Leading a team member can be a challenge for people because it means leading from the sideline. You likely got to where you are by being a great player first. Great players can struggle to be great coaches.
For many organizations an inability for staff to lead other team members well stunts progress.
Well led people lead people well.
Leading a team member well can involve a counter intuitive approach. Here are a few of the best practices I’ve seen:
1. Reward Failure Most church leaders I speak to want team members who are willing to take risks. However, they want people who they can count on to produce results. This is a tension you have to recognize. Leaders who make a significant impact take risks, but with risks comes the risk of failure itself. If you don’t reward failure, your team won’t take risks.
Make great failed risks an element of your annual performance review, not just successes.
2. Become someone you’re not. Don’t just be the leader you are, become the leader they need you to be for them to be successful. One size doesn’t fit all. Every employee should be asked by their supervisor, “how do you like to be led?”
So often the frustrations a team member feels could be avoided if they had an opportunity to clearly communicate their expectations, preferences, and pet-peeves when it comes to the way their boss leads them. It helps create the environment where they perform the best. Rather than guessing over the coming months, just get them out on the table as early as possible.
3. Have more meetings and be more honest. Yup more meetings. You need a regular weekly meeting that includes evaluation, but then touch base with them for a few minutes during the week from time to time.
In almost 100% of my experiences walking with frustrated church leaders, here’s one thing they have in common: their supervisor doesn’t meet with them regularly and doesn’t have a system for honest regular evaluation and feedback.
This creates two things:
(i) A feeling of isolation, and
(ii) a lack of understanding of where they stand or if they are doing a good job.
If you aren’t communicating how an employee is doing regularly, they are guessing. They are rarely guessing correctly.
4. Believe in them on their worst days. Ultimately, this is the thing every employee wants from their supervisor the most. We all want someone to believe in us, not only on our good days, but on our bad. When that “someone” who believes in you is your boss, it’s a powerful motivator. You just can’t over encourage someone.
5. Choose trust over suspicion. We live in a suspicious world full of critics and armchair quarterbacks. Sadly, often the church is the best example of this. As the boss, that’s not the culture you want to create, you don’t want to look back and see a legacy of skepticism and critique. As church leaders, we’re called to be dealing out hope and trust.
So when you hear something about your team from someone, or you feel yourself suspicious without the facts, choose trust.
You may get hurt from time to time, but you’ll build a culture where people deal in hope, encouragement, and believing the best of people—that’s the long-term goal. Andy Stanley has some great stuff on this if you are looking for resources.
What are some counter-intuitive ways you coach your players?
What are your learned behaviours or how has your perception changed on leading your team?
Jeff is currently the Executive Director at Connexus Community Church, a multi-campus church north of Toronto, and a strategic partner of North Point Ministries. He has been working with families and students for over a decade and is passionate about family and church coming together to reach this generation. He invests his time in developing teams of leaders, discovering innovative and practical ways to partner with parents, and finding ways to inspire communities with timeless truths. You can follow him on Twitter.