Tips to build a Leadership Dream Team

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At a Global Congress of worldwide ministry leaders, we held a panel discussion (above) featuring 6 missions and ministry veterans representing well over 200 years of experience. I marveled as they freely shared their expertise and wisdom with the current up-and-coming generation of leaders in attendance.

But I was also struck by the longevity of their commitment. It’s rare today to not only assemble, but to retain a dream team. Most statistics say that 60% to 80% of those who enter ministry will not still be in it 10 years later, and only a fraction will stay in it as a lifetime career. [1]

60% to 80% of those who enter ministry will not still be in it 10 years later Click to Tweet

CraigGroeschelCatalyst’s Brad Lomenick sat down with my friend, Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel, to discuss the similarly unprecedented length of ministry tenure of the LifeChurch core leadership team.

I echo many of Craig’s leadership insights, and cannot stress enough how critically important it is to surround yourself with leaders you can trust and who are team players.

 “The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I.’ And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I.’ They don’t think ‘I.’ They think ‘we’; they think ‘team.’ They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”
― Peter F. Drucker

In Patrick Lencioni’s organizational leadership book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, he talks about the importance of assembling and maintaining a cohesive leadership team. And by “cohesive,” he’s not talking about stacking the team with yes-men and clones. Paradoxically, cohesive looks more like hiring people who are diverse, smart, experienced and skilled in fields or ways that are very different than you are.

“any organization that really wants to maximize its success must come to embody two basic qualities:it must be smart, and it must be healthy.”
The Advantage, page 16

When God places intelligent, experienced people on your team, there’s a good chance someone else is going to notice. And invite him or her to leave your team and join another. One of the biggest leadership challenges today is retaining these power players. I have to agree with Craig that effective leadership looks a lot less like controlling and a lot more like delegating. If you don’t let those who are called and qualified to lead, they’ll go somewhere else to fill that need.

One of the biggest leadership challenges today is retaining your power players Click to Tweet

 “Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.”
― Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

We agree yet again that when we unleash our people to experiment with their creativity, amazing things happen. Some of the most incredible and effective tools and programs were birthed in our OneHope Innovation lab. Have others seen these successes and tried to hire away our creatives and developers? Yes, they are constantly being recruited. But, like LifeChurch has done with someone like a Bobby Gruenwald, who builds and sells tech companies, we are simply empowering our people to create what God puts on their hearts.

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”
― Daniel H. PinkDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Confident secure leaders let others do things and get the credit for it—it’s the smart thing to do. It’s saying “I believe in these people, they’re better than me at certain things, and if they’re not I didn’t select the right people. If I don’t trust them they’re not the right people; if they don’t have the freedom to go do what they need to do, then something’s not right.”

To build a great organization, start with the right people Click to Tweet

Leaders looking to attract and retain great ministry teams in the 21st century would do well to fuse biblical leadership advice from current leaders with successful leaders of the past, like Peter Drucker, who said “No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.”

It gives me so much freedom to realize that it’s not by any greatness of my own doing that we have a “dream team” here at OneHope. It is by prayerful consideration and wisdom in selecting the right people who are trustworthy, giving them the freedom to create what God has laid on their hearts, and allowing them the space to lead and take credit for the things that they have done. We have only to cultivate a spirit of unity displayed in harmony as we work together, rather than spend our time trying to demand uniformity.

  “Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”-
1 Corinthians 10:33 ESV

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[1]http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562