Teams That Thrive

I love great teams.  I love building great teams.  I love building teams of great leaders.

I echo John Maxwell… “everything rises or fall on leadership.”  The power of leadership through teams is exponential.

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Ryan T. Hartwig and Warren Bird have recently written this great book: Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership

Here is an excerpt from the book followed by some great offers! 

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Seven Straight-Forward Actions of Great Team Leaders

by Ryan T. Hartwig and Warren Bird

The best teams define leaders more by what they do than by where they sit in the organizational chart. Sometimes great leaders sit in the chair at the head of the table, and are the team’s formal, positional leader; other times they do not. Wherever you are sitting around the table, here are seven practices of effective leaders to help you focus your efforts as a leader.

  1. Structure the team for success. You cannot force a team to become great, but you can help put the pieces together and encourage greatness. Focus on structuring and facilitating productive team communication practices, as we explain how to do in our new book, Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership.
  1. Establish with your team a 5C purpose (clear, compelling, challenging, calling oriented and consequential). Effective teams commonly aim toward a North Star. Good leaders facilitate processes to cast and clarify both vision and strategy.
  1. Get the right people on the team. Great team leaders take team membership seriously, but not too seriously. Getting the right people on the bus won’t solve all your problems, but it will help. Usually the right people possess essential skills and abilities related to the team’s purpose (in a balance with others), a strong desire to contribute to the vision and the capability to collaborate effectively. Leaders evaluate the strengths and skills of potential team members to find the right mix of skills the team needs.
  1. Facilitate goal setting in pursuit of the team’s vision. Great leaders break down lofty vision into manageable chunks by setting specific, time-bound goals. Take some time to clarify, at minimum, monthly and annual goals.
  1. Set priorities and focus on achieving team goals. Great leaders don’t play politics within the team (that’s not being trustworthy), don’t focus on relationships at the expense of task accomplishment, don’t make everything a priority and don’t drown the team in a bunch of unimportant drivel. They laser-focus on accomplishing goals.
  1. Unleash talent by allowing others to do real work. Great team leaders recognize that team members possess strengths they don’t, so they step back and allow members to exercise those strengths. This isn’t giving power away, or empowerment. It’s self-control.
  1. Do real work themselves. Great leaders don’t just supervise, coordinate or delegate tasks. They do real work for which other team members can hold them accountable. Remember, much of what people learn is “caught, not taught.” What are others “catching” from your leadership?

Certainly one person doesn’t have to do all of these things. In our visits to churches, we saw these practices often shared among several team members. These teams realize that everyone can lead, not just those at the very top of the organizational chart. We encourage you to create a team climate where every member of the team “leads” your team in various ways.

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Because I participated in the book project by writing an expert commentary, InterVarsity Press is offering my readers a 30% discount on the book. To access the discount, order online at ivpress.com or call 800-843-9487 and use coupon code 506-447.  This offer expires April 30.

For more tips on providing great team leadership, as well as a host of other tips to help your team thrive, see Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership.

Bonus Offer, But Only Until April 30! Get a free accompanying workbook entitled “Have a New Team by Friday” by ordering by April 30 and submitting your receipt. Details at www.TeamsThatThriveBook.com.

Excerpted with permission from chapter 9 of Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership by Ryan T. Hartwig and Warren Bird, InterVarsity Press, 2015. Visit www.TeamsThatThriveBook.com for the book itself, exercises, and other tools to help your team.

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