There are a lot of pressures and stresses for senior pastors and ministry team leaders, but one of the compensations is this privilege: you get to choose your team. In principle, you should not work with people on your team that you did not choose. Never violate that principle.
Though we must be open to the leading of the Spirit to accept those God sends us, and though others may expect us to “inherit” team members by virtue of the fact that they were there before us, or the organization believes they should join us, but in the end, it is your team. You have the final say in who joins you, and you should exercise that God given responsibility with care, courage and wisdom.
When leaders choose team members or consider new hires, they instinctively know to build a great church or organization they need the best team members possible. We all want to work with great people. But how do we go about selecting team members or new staff? Few leaders take the time to define what they are looking for in team members or new staff hires. Far too many of us accept the first person that is eager to join us, without taking time to probe deeper. Don’t let desperation for help drive your team building!
Let me say again, don’t ever accept team members without confidence that God has brought them to you and that you are absolutely sure that they are the right fit. It is far easier to add someone to your staff or team than to fire them or ask them to leave.
Effective team leaders define the key roles they need to be filled on their team, but more importantly, they have a clearly thought through set of qualifications in mind for team members.
Ask yourself these questions when you consider adding a person to your staff or team:
- Do they share my DNA? In other words, are you sure they have your values? More important that great skills or good education is a team member who has your DNA, who shares your values, and grasps and loves the vision of where your team is going.
- Do I have good chemistry with them? It took some bad experiences and some personality clashes for me to realize that God gives me freedom to choose who is a good fit for me on my team. This was not the case in the early years of emerging leadership when God was using other people to test me and shape my character, but in my convergence years, I learned that the ground rules change, and God actually wants me to choose people I enjoy working with. Chemistry counts!
- Are they a person of trustworthy character? It is better to train a teachable person with integrity, than contend with a person who is unteachable, unfaithful, and unreliable.
- Do they have the skills necessary to do the job? Can they get the results you want and others expect? There are some tasks that require better than average performance; a high level of excellence is a must for some roles. There are some projects that should not be launched unless you are absolutely sure a person can get the job done.
- Are they courageous? Rather have a team member who takes risks, than one who is cagey and tries to figure out what will “please the boss”. Better to coach a teachable risk-taking person than create dependency on you. Team members who are fearful of making decisions rob your church/organization of passion and zeal. If you have created clear boundaries via clearly communicated values and vision, then empower your team members to get on with the job within that framework.
- Will they contribute to the culture we are creating? I ask myself if new team members are high maintenance type people, or are they initiative takers? Do they grasp what we are trying to build, and do they see it a privilege to be part of our core team? Are they “adders” or “subtractors” to our culture?
- Lastly, are they humble, honest, hungry and smart? For this part of the list, I can do no better than refer you to Michael Hyatt’s excellent blog,
“What should you look for in the people you hire?” at http://michaelhyatt.com/what-should-you-look-for-in-the-people-you-hire.html
Trial and error is a good way to live if you like gambling, but it is not the best way to build a great team. One mentor told me, "Floyd, the first time you make a big mistake, it's free, but after that, God will lift his grace from you and let you suffer the consequences of bad decisions".
Though not an absolute, there is great wisdom in my mentor's advise. Learn quickly or suffer. And I might add, learn from the mistakes and wisdom of others, so you won't suffer.
The seven questions above are a road map to follow. As Michael Hyatt says, "It's hard to find a treasure if you don't have a map". Use these question as a map for choosing your team, and you will find the treasures God has stored up for you in the people he has for you. Great team members are a great treasure!
"It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter".