“What is my team asking of me?” What every Staff member wants from their senior leader Part-3

Through my experience of being on both sides of the desk, hiring, exiting, and leading a staff; there are 5 seemingly simple yet at the same time monumental questions that have continued to come up that are placed squarely on the shoulders of leadership to answer for the team.

#1 Where are we going?

“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” Proverbs 29:18

Without even meeting them, the one thing that I can tell you about your team is that they long for a compelling vision to give their lives to. Particularly in a ministry setting they desperately want to feel like they’re a part of something that is bigger than themselves. By offering a compelling and challenging journey you are creating an opportunity to bring out the best in your people! But on the other side, there is no quicker route to low moral on a team than delayed wins or perhaps worse not even knowing what the score is.

#2 How do I fit into where we are going?

“We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ.” Ephesians 4:4-7

People want to know what their part is on the team is and that their part matters. They want to know that they are needed and how the work they are doing is leading the organization to the vision. This is where the question of alignment between the mission of the organization and the mission of the person comes into play.

#3 Who are you, and are you worth following?

“And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

If you are the person that your team is going to follow then they want to know that they can trust you. They want to know how God is working in your life and that you are wrestling through the scriptures and aligning your life through obedience to God’s Word. This isn’t a question of perfection, but one of integrity. In other words, are you the kind of person that calls foul on yourself and owns up to your weaknesses while still demonstrating confidence and security in the direction the Lord has called you to lead the team?  Bottom line…are you willing and healthy enough to be vulnerable with your team?

#4 Do you care about me?

“We loved you so much that we gave you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Do you have an intentional plan to coach and develop your team? Beyond that, have you taken the time to understand what makes the different personalities on the team feel appreciated? This can range from providing time off, public or private recognition, pay increases; a simple thank you often times can go a long ways or even a basic hand written note of encouragement. Value can be shown through leadership assignments, setting your team up to contribute based on their skill set and in a role that will stretch them to grow, or even opportunities for advancement. More than all of this, an occasional inquiry about what is going on in the lives of your team can go a long way. Taking the time out to know your team on a more personal level can inspire the personal buy-in that provides both the grease and the glue of great working relationships. You may be amazed at what you can get out of your team when they know that you truly believe in them.

#5 Are you available?

“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’” Mark 10:13-14

Jesus’ life was filled with interruptions and yet they never seemed to bother him. He always seemed to have time for people and for addressing their problems. So do you plan for interruptions? Your people have real problems to solve and if you’re the lead guy they want your input because they want to land their projects in a way that would reflect your values and the values of the organization. This becomes a question of accessibility. You can’t lead people that you’re not with. As the organization changes and grows so will the people who get direct leadership from you. While it’s not reasonable that everyone will have complete access to you, someone should. At the end of the day people won’t die for someone they can’t touch, they won’t even bleed for them.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing

3 Responses to ““What is my team asking of me?” What every Staff member wants from their senior leader Part-3”

  1. david March 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Great Principles on leadership Paul….If only those who lead would think they apply to themselves and not to others…It takes some effort to incorperate and focus on principle / vision / mission. Doesn’t take much to want, tell, and direct, but in the end it costs a lot…

  2. jeff March 31, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I love this post, nothing is more true…

  3. paul alexander March 31, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    This is stuff that has to be owned at a core level and lived out day to day in the simple and seemingly small ways that we interact with our staff.

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