Because the corporate ladder is an upward climb, it’s easy to confuse a position of leadership with fulfilling the calling of being a great leader. But a position doesn’t make a leader. Building teams, modeling teamwork and inspiring people to work together does. It’s God’s design: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor,” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). As you continue to grow your leadership skills, consider these 10 Ways to Be a Better Team Leader:
1. Believe in people. Invest in others and see them released into the purposes of God. "You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others" (2 Timothy 2:22).
2. Believe the best of others, and genuinely want what is best for them. Share your knowledge and help others expand their skills sets. “Love bears all things…believes all things looking for the best in each one…” (1 Corinthians 13:7, AMP).
3. Give people room to grow. God is about multiplication and reproduction, not containment and limitation. So be committed to promoting and releasing people. “When good people are promoted, everything is great…” (Proverbs 28:12, The Message).
4. Keep the standard high. Demonstrate excellence to your team. Encourage everyone to have a happy countenance and to build one another up. Show them a strong work ethic, high integrity and honor. “Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work” (Colossians 3:22-25, The Message).
5. Challenge your team to think outside the box. Motivate your team to work smarter always thinking of innovative ideas and exploring new approaches. “Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle” (Ecclesiastes 10:10, The Message).
6. Be the example. Your credibility is your leadership currency. So you must be personally willing to do what you’re requiring of your team. It’s so easy in a world that values self-sufficiency to become isolated and allow others to become isolated. But that’s not God’s model of teamwork. Be the leader who invites others to help you as well. “Keep a sharp eye out for competent men…and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They’ll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They’ll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they’ll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you’ll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also” (Exodus 18:17-26, The Message).
7. Make the vision plain so people know what they are supposed to be doing. A strong team rallies around a cause and a purpose. So always keep painting a picture of the desired future to keep your team looking forward. “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming…It’s on its way. It will come right on time” (Habakkuk 2:2-3).
8. Keep the atmosphere positive. A group of people doesn’t automatically make a team. Being committed and loyal to one another builds the camaraderie that you want. Keep everyone inspired with enthusiasm and an infectious attitude. “He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind” (Isaiah 40:31, The Message).
9. Stretch people, but do not snap them. Stretching does cause pain and inconvenience, but learn when to let people rest—so they do not break. Do what it takes to help them grow and remain encouraged. “Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room…Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short” (Isaiah 54:2-3, The Message).
10. Celebrate the wins—and then get back to work. Leadership, team building and development all spring from the heart. Keep your heart pure, and celebrate ALL the wins, then refocus on the next level of growth. “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them” (Philippians 4:4-5, The Message).
God wants us to continually grow as leaders—and inspire growth in others—but to do that, we have to be great leaders who build teams to work together.
Christine Caine is an Australian-born, Greek-blooded activist, author and international speaker. She is cofounder of the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign, the founder of Propel Women and the author of the new book Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick Up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny. For more information visit www.christinecaine.com.