In my current schedule Tuesday is titled “meeting-day.” I got home around 10pm this last Tuesday night after a 13-hour day that was packed full of different types of meetings from start to finish. The day included planned staff meetings and an elder meeting. There were impromptu meetings and short meetings. There were a few longer meetings and some directional meetings. There were brief vision meetings and at least one or two “could you imagine if?” meetings. It was a good day. I love the teams I get to lead with, and the people I get to serve alongside at LifePoint Church.
I woke up Wednesday morning with a few thoughts about great leadership teams. No team is ever a finished product, as long as it has people on it. People-populated teams will always be in transition, because people are always in transition. When I say “transition” I’m not alluding to personnel turnover. I’m referring to the reality that every human person is continually growing, changing, learning, and developing.
Here are four qualities of great leadership teams:
1) Great leadership teams don’t “spontaneously combust” into existence.
- God created ex nihilo…but you and I don’t have the ability to create phenomenal and healthy leadership teams out of nothing.
- Teams don’t just “arrive” in place.
- Behind every great team is a group of leaders who intentionally build culture, recruit, and provide on-going training.
2) Great teams grow to maturity in the soil of healthy organizational culture.
- Solid leaders become “culture-makers,” and senior leadership in every organization must be intentional about how they are framing the river of culture.
- Organizational culture has a strong current, and if it is not directed, affirmed, and re-affirmed, flooding can wreak havoc.
- As a culture shifts within an organization, those empowered in leadership must have clarity about the target culture.
3) Great teams are populated with leaders from a solidly-built pipeline.
- As the water-level rises and the river of culture picks up speed in an organization, the best place to find leaders who fit company-DNA is within the organization itself.
- Although there are cases where an external hire may be necessary; cultural continuity, loyalty, longevity, and team synergy are all aided by internal leaders who work their way through the pipeline to positions of influence.
- A pipeline never just “appears,” it has to be skillfully and intentionally built.
- Laying a solid pipeline requires leaders who are humble, relational, and committed to the organization’s mission over and above their own personal agenda or position of influence.
- There really is no time-line to when a person should be able to enter the pipeline. In a church setting, the kids and youth ministries should be culture-building mechanisms that pass on healthy DNA to the up and coming generations.
4) Great teams breathe the air of intentionality and humility.
- This means that from the top-down and the bottom-up, everyone serves, everyone gives, and no one takes the posture of entitlement.
- This kind of attitude is specifically vital in top-level and visible leaders.
- Unhealthy people, or people who have experience in unhealthy organizational culture, tend to project their baggage onto anyone in a position of leadership. There is no way around this. However, each leader must examine their heart and remain accountable so that the shoe never fits.