In the business world and in the church, I’ve learned having a good team often makes the difference in how well we do at reaching our objectives.
I have been blessed with some great teams in the past. As a result, I frequently get asked if I have any openings on my team. I have a good team in the church where I am now. I’m also asked how I continue to put together such great teams. I’m not bragging, but I am suggesting I’ve learned a few things about what makes a great team—and specifically what makes great team members. And, all great teams are made up of great team members.
The longer a great team is together, the better it seems to work together, but it starts with finding the right people to join the team.
In the process of putting together teams, I have often reflected about what makes a great team member. What is it that causes some teams to bond together better than other teams? What are some of the joint characteristics all great team members share?
Here are seven traits I believe make a great team member:
Sense of humor – It’s critical that team members be able to laugh—at life, at corny jokes, and sometimes at or with each other in a healthy way. I don’t like laughter that makes fun of others, but great teams are comprised of people who can laugh with one another. I think teams should have fun together. It makes us a better team. We may even occasionally be found in the hallway playing a game. Life and ministry is stressful enough. Let’s laugh a little. Together.
Team spirit – There are no lone rangers on a healthy team. In fact, they rebuke struggling alone! Being part of a team should mean there are no turf wars on and no one should be drowning in a project without some help.
Work ethic – I’ve never been great at managing people. As a leader, I simply rely on people having the sense of responsibility and inner drive needed to complete the work. We set definite goals and objectives—measurable wherever possible—but I surround myself with other leaders who are passionate about Christ, our vision and other people, and are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the vision.
Healthy personal life – In ministry, we deal with a lot of messiness in other people’s lives. It would make it very difficult to maintain the level of ministry required of us if we were not personally living healthy lives spiritually, emotionally and, as much as it depends on us, physically. That doesn’t mean we don’t have issues or problems of our own, of course we do, but we are striving to be healthy individually and together.
Transparency – Great team members share burdens with one another. (That’s another way they stay healthy.) Team members don’t live on an island to themselves. The more a team learns to trust each other the greater this process becomes. The team is open to challenge the system, the ministry, the leader and each other in an attempt to make the organization better.
Loyalty – It is imperative in any organizational structure that a team member be dedicated to the vision, organization, senior leadership and the team. There doesn’t have to be unanimous agreement on every decision. That would be unhealthy, but there must be unanimity of purpose.
Servant’s heart – If one cannot approach their position from a point of serving others and Christ then he or she will not work well on a good team. It should be the model of the entire ministry, so certainly it must be represented by the team members first.
I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that come to my mind first.
(For clarification, if needed, these are personality traits, not spiritual qualifications. Those are biblically scripted for us and would be covered in another post.)
Do you serve on a healthy team—or wish you did? What would you add to the list?
The original article appeared here.