Excelling on Your Team

Most of us, if not all of us, serve on a team/staff of some sort. Whether it’s in our workplace, at church, or in a community organization, we serve alongside others and answer to a leader/direct report. As the member of a team our goal should always be, “How can I excel in the role I am serving?” With that goal in mind, here are a few thoughts on excelling as a team/staff member:

  • Do what is expected. We often look to do the extra things, but an excellent staff member does what’s expected first. You’d be surprised how encouraging (and rare) it is for a leader when their staff simply does what is expected.
  • Think ahead. Get a feel for how your leader works and try to think ahead. Your leader shouldn’t need to constantly be reminding you and keeping you on task. That doesn’t mean you necessarily work ahead – you want to make sure you’re working on the tasks/projects your overseer desires, while thinking ahead to what might be next.
  • Do what you do with excellence. Don’t just accomplish tasks, but do them well. Look for opportunities to accomplish tasks/projects in a way that sets them above.

Becoming All Things

In 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 the Apostle Paul makes this statement:

“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law…, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law…, so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”

This is a profound statement in our approach to seeing the gospel become a reality in the lives of many. But I believe there is also a principle here that we can apply as followers. As a follower, we must be willing to ‘become all things’ to our leader that their vision might be accomplished. Before you go freaking out over that statement, let me explain. I’ve had the opportunity to work under a number of leaders with completely different styles of leadership. Some have been ‘list guys’, some have been more laid back, some have been workhorses, some have been micro managers, still others have been more ‘hands off.’ Depending on what kind of leader you find yourself working under, you need to adjust how you work with them. To one leader you might be very organized, to another you are more laid back, to yet another you’re more creative. It’s understanding what your strengths are, but just as important, understanding what your organization needs from you to be successful.

When you put yourself in a box saying, “This is the way I work and I cannot change”, you limit not only your ability to grow, but also your understanding of who God has made you. God has created us “in His own image” and I don’t know anywhere that says God is stuck in a box. How you are now is only the tip of who God has made you to be. Honestly, if you had reached your full potential in God’s eyes, you’d be dead right now. Although you may be a very organized person, allow yourself to be in situations where your creativity is tested. Or if you have more of a laid back approach, place yourself in scenarios where you need to be more ‘hands on.’ Stretching yourself and growing is a key to not just leadership, but also followership.

Follow the Leader

So many blogs, books and seminars talk about “How to be a Great Leader” and rightfully so. If we are going to see people come to Christ, we must be leading them, but what we as leaders often miss is in order to be a good leader, you must first be a good follower. That’s what Christ said in Mark 9:35, “…”If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” With all that is written about being a leader, this week I’m going to post a few thoughts on “Followership” (the counter to leadership!).

Following takes a passive approach. Not passive in your morals or principles, but rather in your approach. We all accomplish things in a different way, and as a follower, your goal is not necessarily to accomplish your tasks in the way you want them accomplished, but to accomplish them how your leader wants them. For example, if you are planning a big banquet and your pastor/leader thinks red table cloths would go great with the orange carpet, you might be outraged. But as a follower you can put in your two cents, give your opinion, but ultimately your goal is to pull off this banquet as your leader desires.

So often, followers can get too worked up in the details and miss the big picture. Although it might be the worst color combination ever, what’s more important is are you following your leader? Are you being obedient with a right attitude? Now I understand there are situations where you are working with a leader that you can’t follow. You can read more about that here, here and here, but what I’m talking about is as a follower, see the big picture. See what your leader is trying to accomplish and do everything you can to make it a reality!

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