High-Performing Teams

Recently finished The One Minute Manager Builds High-Performing Teams by Ken Blanchard.

At Eagle Brook, the church I work at as the Junior High Teaching Pastor/Program Developer, I realize something over and over and over again — the importance of teams. And the importance of team leadership.

Ever since I decided to work in full-time ministry, I dreamed of working in teams. As a baseball player and an athlete, the thing I loved more than anything else was playing on a team. And not just any teams, but great teams.

At Chapman University, I was a part of a great team. We understood the mission. We worked hard for it. We had a leader/coach who instilled that passion in us. We were driven. We were focused. We weeded out the weaklings and those who didn’t buy into the team. We fought hard for the brand and logo (Chapman). We dreamed of succeeding. We pushed each other. We held each other accountable.

And we succeeded.

Now, as a pastor, I dreamed of something similar. I have worked as a the lone ranger in previous stops, and every time I read a book or dreamed of  what could be, it always involved a team. I dreamed of being on a team, similar to my Chapman University baseball team. I had tastes of it here and there in previous church stops, but it was never fully realized.

Now, at Eagle Brook, it is fully realized. I am a part of a great overall team and a part of developing and becoming great smaller teams.

After reading this book, I am driven more than ever to work on my TEAM leadership. I am a part of 3 or 4 smaller teams at EBC, but I actually lead a small team of Junior High pastors.

Here are the key takeaways from this book:

* The words “leader” and “educator” are synonymous.
* Empowerment is all about letting go so others can get going.
* Effective leaders adjust their style to provide what the group can’t provide for itself.
* The most important function of a leader is to help move the group through the stages of development.

My job as a team leader is to assess the stage a team is in. We are either in the Orientation, Dissatisfaction, Integration, and Production stage. Depending on this assessment, then our job is to either provide task function (goals, direction, strategies) or maintenance function (cohesiveness, creativity, moving forward).

Ideally, our job as a team leader is to work ourselves out of a dictatorial or director role. I want my team to function at a high capacity without needing to push and lead. I want my team to have opportunities to perform, risk and share without my prompting or leading.

Ultimately, the key difference between a leader and a director is the amount of empowerment the team feels. If a so-called leader comes in to each meeting and simply dumps, the team will feel less empowered. “If a leader stays in a highly directive style for long, however, team members will soon feel resentment about being told over and over what to do and how to do it.”

Read this book. Learn the difference between team leadership and team directing. And begin to lead high-performing teams.