Great Traits of a Great Team- Part 3

Have you noticed? Leadership teams that “click,” work well together. They get along and have a leader who believes leadership is a team effort, not a one-man performance.

Moses thought leading the people was up to him. I call it “The Moses Syndrome.” Daily “he took his seat to judge the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.” (Exodus 18:13) and daily he wore himself out. Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro, saw the long lines and concluded, “This is crazy!” He told Moses, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (18:17, 18) Call it “The Jethro Solution.” He set up teams of gifted, capable leaders and divided the work. “That will make your load lighter, because they (the teams) will share it with you. . . You will be able to withstand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” (18: 22, 23) It worked!



·         Share the same vision

·         Communicate honestly, openly, transparently

·         Have good listeners

Great Trait #4: Effective teams enjoy each other.

When effective teams meet, the atmosphere is informal, relaxed, comfortable. It doesn't mean the team isn't serious, accomplishing little. It means there's not the tension, stiffness, and boredom. Good teams have good chemistry.

Times together are fun. Team members enjoy being together, seeing each other and working together. There's laughter, sometimes lots of it and that's good. Fun energizes a team.

Each member is involved and attentive, sharing in a discussion, or listening to what others are saying.

Good teams thrive on building personal relationships by spending time together. Jesus did this. He appointed 12 that “He might be with them.” (Mark 3:12)

The spiritual vitality of the team evidences itself in deep relationships with one another and effective service to others.” (Stephen A. Macchia, Becoming a Healthy Team, p. 24)

Great Trait #5: Effective teams value each other's contributions.

NO ONE ON THE TEAM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYONE ELSE ON THE TEAM. Every member is valued by you the leader and the other team members. Every member is treated as needed by you and the team. Every member is loved by you and your team.

No one describes this trait better than the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. I've changed the word body to team for emphasis. Read it slowly, carefully.

            Now the team is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say,  “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the team,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the team. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the team,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the team. . . If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12: 14-16, 26 NIV)



More next time.

Great Traits of a Great Team - Part 2

The man isn't a FLUKE, not the men's basketball coach at DUKE, Mike Krzyzewski, “Coach K.” It would take a full page (maybe several) to list his credits. The man knows how to lead and lead well.

He said, “I think leadership is never singular. In a good organization it's plural.”

Servant leaders agree with Coach K. Solo leadership isn't their bag. They build and developteams to lead with them. They've learned the crucial lesson that YOU CAN'T DO IT ALONE. Leadership is a team sport. There may be a captain, but without the team working together no one can score the winning goal.

So what are the traits of a great team?

Great Trait #1: Unifies around a Shared Vision.

The vision of the team is crystal clear and accepted by everyone on the team. There is direction.

Great Trait #2: Practice H.O.T. Communication

Great teams know how to communicate well, not just talk. The communication is H.O.T.

Honest. Team members speak the truth, not what they “think” is the truth. They don't lie or twist the truth to look good.

Open. Team members speak freely without being criticized, embarrassed, or ridiculed.

Transparent. When someone speaks they can be real, themselves. They don’t fake it out of fear they may not be accepted.

Many leadership teams limit their effectiveness by poor communication or worse, no communication. The servant leader must look for ways to open up team communication, encourage the discussion of key issues (yes, even problems), then model a non-judgmental response.

Ephesians 4:15, “Speak the truth in love.”

Ephesians 4:29, “Let NO unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.”

Great Trait #3: Listens well

The single most important distinctive of effective teams from ineffective teams is the ability of team members to listen to each other.” Glen M. Parker, Team Players and Teamwork

Catch this. . . .


· Only hear 50% of what is said to them.

· Only pay attention to 25% of what is said.

· Only understand 12% of what they paid attention to.

· Only believe 6% of what they understand.

· Only remember 3% of what they believe.

Great teams master the art of listening well. They pay careful attention to each other while reserving judgment on what is said. They allow a speaker to finish without interrupting. In meetings, they don't carry on side bar conversations when another has the floor. Years ago to talk when someone else was talking was rude. Still is!

James 1:19, “Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Maybe that’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth. He wants us to develop big ears, not a big mouth!

More next time. . ..

Great Traits of a Great Team - Part 1

Ever notice how some of the great philosophies of life are etched on T-shirts? You might say TRUTH ON A T. Here's one. A bunch of guys are clinging to a rope for dear life with the words, “TEAM: 24 Guys Hanging on the Same Rope.” That's it. That's team attitude. If you don't hang together, you'll hang separately.

So you're a leader, hopefully a servant leader relinquishing whatever it takes to serve. . . LIKE JESUS. How's your team? JESUS HAD ONE. Do you have one or are you still hung up on the idea that leadership is a one-man show?

We were designed to function in connected, interdependent relationships with other people. God started it years ago when He said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone”; so He created for Adam a helper, someone suitable to him, i.e. a team member. Human beings (male and female) were created with a need to intertwine their lives with others.

We were made to be team players. A marriage is a team. A family is a team. A ball club is a team. A business is a team. A government office is a team, and so is a church.

What makes a good team? Why do some teams click and others don't? What's the difference between effective and ineffective teams? Someone asked baseball philosopher Yogi Berra, “What makes a good manager?” He responded, “A great team.”


Great Trait #1: Unified around a Shared Vision.

Vision is a clear and compelling picture of the future, which produces passion in the leader. It's this passion people want to follow. VISION LEAKS OUT.

Everything starts with a vision God gives the leader, who in turn passes it on to the other leaders. Vision gives direction. If you don't know where you're going, you may wind up somewhere else. Vision keeps you on target.

Vision is the essence of leadership. Knowing where you want to go requires three things: Having a clear vision, articulating it well, and getting your team enthusiastic about sharing it. Above all, any leader must be consistent. As the Bible says, no one follows an uncertain trumpet.”

Father Theodore Hesburgh, former President of Notre Dame University

Nehemiah never blew an uncertain trumpet. He was one of the great ones in the Old Testament Hall of Fame of Servant Leaders. His leadership vision started with a gruesome report about his beloved Jerusalem. The city was under great distress---walls broken down, gates burned to ashes, temple smashed, few survivors, others deported to Babylon.

Nehemiah confesses the mess and the nation's sin to God, then schedules an Uber ride to Jerusalem. Once there he hangs out for three days touring the city at night, just walking around, perhaps praying out loud, wondering what God has in mind.

In 2:17 of his book, Nehemiah rallies the city leaders and people together and casts a powerful vision. “You see the bad situation WE are in. OUR city is wiped out. Come. Let US rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.” That's the vision---a clear and compelling picture of the future. The leaders and people bought it. “Let US arise and build!”

In Chapter 3, everyone worked together—city leaders, religious leaders, families, everyone working, no one working alone.

Catch this. In 6:15, “the wall was completed in 52 days;” in 6:16, “The enemies/nations surrounding us recognized THIS WAS THE WORK OF GOD.”

Anyone said of your work lately? “IT'S THE WORK OF GOD.”


More next time. . .