Tag: team

7 reasons your team desperately needs your public support

The way you speak about your team publicly will set the stage for how you are able to lead privately. Whether “publicly” for you means from stage, in conversations, in emails, or in feigned heart-wrenching prayer requests, public criticism is more important than you might think. George Washington knew this.


image credit: history.com

Washington was a man of exceptional, almost excessive self-command, rarely permitting himself any show of discouragement or despair, but in the privacy of his correspondence with Joseph Reed, he began now to reveal how very low and bitter he felt, if the truth were known. Never had he seen “such a dearth of public spirit and want of virtue” as among the Yankee soldiers, he confided in a letter to Reed of November 28. “These people” were still beyond his comprehension. A “dirty, mercenary spirit pervades the whole,” he wrote. (from David McCullough’s 1776)

Washington had a clear, accurate view of the people he was leading. But he chose not to rake them over the coals publicly, and in this showed incredible self-restraint and wisdom. It would’ve been easy for him to slough off the fact that he and the rebels were losing the battle against the British onto the people. To paint the colonists as a bunch of sloppy, ill-fitted, cowardly bunch. But he chose the honorable route of honoring them publicly.

You’re probably not the commanding general of the US Army, but this restraint is wise in relationships like

  • Pastor –> associate pastor
  • Small group leader –> small group member
  • Husband –> wife
  • Boss –> co-worker
  • church staff member –> church staff member
  • deacon –> pastor
  • volunteer –> executive director
  • student –> teacher

When someone speaks negatively of your team, it’s often easier to just shake your head in flaccid approval. Or join in, making you look better and them look worse. Whether you’re a leader in your church, in your community, or in your home, public support is vital.

7 reasons your team desperately needs your public support

1. Public praise builds respect.

Very few things will earn someone else’s respect of you more than them knowing you have their back no matter what. Even when you don’t fully agree with the decision they’ve made, and would’ve yourself made a different decision.

With public criticism, you rip others apart and cause them to disrespect you.

2. Public praise nips negative attitudes in the bud.

When you don’t give critics the satisfaction of dragging your team through the mud, you paint a vivid picture of a united team.

Public criticism breeds public and private criticism.

3. Public praise promotes creativity.

Instead of spiraling downwards into backbiting and complaining, public praise keeps the focus on what’s good, and where improvement and innovation can happen.

Public criticism squelches creativity because it causes you to lose focus on the problem, and spiral into negativity.

4. Public praise gives you a real chance for influence.

If you publicly criticize others, you have no chance of leading them behind closed doors. They won’t give you a chance, because you’ve ripped their confidence and trust.

Public criticism closes the door for private leadership.

5. Public praise for someone else brings public praise on you, too.

What goes around comes around, both positively and negatively. If someone is criticizing one of your team members now, they’ll criticize you later. Mark my words.

Private criticism permeates a team culture.

6. Public praise builds team.

Public praise helps show others that you are on a team, and that you are all headed in the same direction. It builds the confidence of those you are leading as they see they are being served by a team, not just one person out to criticize everyone else.

Public criticism deteriorates the health of a team.

7. Public praise shifts your heart to love.

Love hopes all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7) Your heart shifts towards love when you act lovingly, even when your feelings aren’t there yet. Try hoping the best for the people you serve with, even when you’re not 100% sure of the motives. Because that’s what love does.

With public criticism, your heart can grow cold to those you are serving with.

There is a time and a place for critically evaluating ideas, decisions, and character issues. But those hard questions are better asked in private than waved publicly for others to join in the gossip and negativity.

Next time someone tries to throw a fellow team member under the bus, yank them out before they get run over. It’ll be better for you, your team, and the hater you’re talking with.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. – Paul, Ephesians 4:2-3

5 Dangers of the “Complainer”

Can I tell you something about yourself?

You know a complainer.

The guy that, no matter what happens, no matter how good or bad a situation, he’s going to find a way to be upset about something. The girl that is constantly down on whatever you, or anyone else, does.

image credit: CreationSwap user Alan Belcher

They’re good at tearing people down, discouraging an entire team, and slowing growth.

Here’s the reality: there is always something to complain about.

Life is often exceedingly difficult. Organizations are often in decline. Things seemingly couldn’t get worse.

If we’re honest with ourselves, “complainers” put words to the thoughts racing through our heads. But there’s a difference in having a thought and acting on it. A difference in having a thought and fleshing that out for everyone to join in with you. A difference in keeping a thought to yourself and recruiting others to moan with you. *

No matter where you are in life, you’ll find complainers.

  • At family gatherings.
  • At church.
  • At the water cooler at work.
  • At conferences.
  • On vacation.
  • On Facebook.
  • By text message
  • By email
  • By phone calls
  • By twitter updates.

Brothers don’t shake hands

Complainers need a hug. They need to be told that it’s going to be okay. They need to be reminded that God is in control, and that he’s a good, loving, kind God.

But they don’t need to be put in the role of director, no matter the size or structure of your organization. In fact, it’s incredibly dangerous for your organization if these people are put into director roles.

5 Dangers of a Complaining Team Member

1. They’ll drag the whole team down with them.

Before you know it, your organization will be full of doubting, complaining naysayers who see nothing but doom and gloom. Complainers are great recruiters.

2. They compromise your vision.

They ratchet up the negative aspect of the vision God’s placed in your heart, and if you’re not careful, you are pulled into the vortex of their negativity, and your once-clear vision becomes muddied.

3. They’ll not perform their job well.

They’ll be focused on the difficult parts of their job, and be distracted from the good, positive aspects.

4. They’ll not help your organization move forward.

Stuck on past failures and current challenges, they’ll not be challenged to press forward and find new, innovative solutions.

5. They’re never satisfied.

As soon as something goes their way, they’ve found another situation to complain about. They’re toxic even in the best of times. Nothing you can do will satiate their desire for more complaints. Everything you do fuels their fire.

Nip complaining in the bud. It’s a heart issue, reflective of a heart that doesn’t rest soundly in the goodness and power of God. And it’ll rot your team from the inside out.

Don’t let complainers be directors.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” – Philippians 2:14-15

* I’m not naive. I can be honest when personal, and organizational, change needs to happen. I’m not contending that you should mask all problems with a smile. I’m making the argument that constant complainers are toxic.

* image credit: CreationSwap user Alan Belcher


5 Steps to Moving Your Whole Team Forward

Photo Credit: Creative Commons User: Pavement Pieces

I love a good competition. Whether we’re talking about sports, board games, or racing to the car, I love the rush of adrenaline you get when the heat is on.

But when it comes to an organization, competition can be healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy team competition says, “If you win, I lose. If I win, you lose.” Healthy team competition says, “I want to continually improve…because I see you continually getting better. If you win, I win. If you and I win, WE win.”

Many teams, unfortunately, operate on the “win/lose” spectrum of competition.

How do you know if you’re on that kind of team? Here is a test. Check any of the following that apply

  • I get frustrated when another team member “takes” my leader.
  • I have no concern for who I recruit for my team…it doesn’t matter what other team they serve on or what their other commitments are.
  • I have never suggested a leader to be a part of another team…I’ve only recruited for my own.
  • I have said this: “I can’t believe how much budget money the _____ team gets. We need more money than they do because we’re having an impact with ______.”
  • I better have a conversation with that new guy. He’s solid, and I don’t want _____ to snatch him up first.
  • I have said this: “I know you’re helping out with the ______ team, but you’re better than that. If you want, we can give you a more important role with us.”
  • I have thought this: “If I sit down with _____ to recruit them to leadership, I’m only thinking positions on my team. I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to think and recruit for other teams.”
  • I have thought this: “It doesn’t matter how a person is gifted or what their passions are…we have a need on our team, and this person could fill it.”

If you checked any of the above boxes, you have a “win/lose” mindset that is detrimental to your organization’s overall success. And it’s time to shift to a win/win mindset.

Win/win is not simply a personality trait. It’s also not that the person who strives for win/win in an organization is afraid of conflict. Teams that strive for win/win know that a win for another team in an organization is a win for the everyone. Your win is our win. Your loss is our loss.

How do you make this transition with your organization?

Shifting to a Win/Win Mindset

1. Quit viewing your team as a silo.

Instead, begin to view your team as a part of the whole organization, with everybody contributing to the overall health. If the organization is simply one silo, then every “win” means the whole silo “wins.” Every “loss” means the whole silo “loses.”

2. Meet with other team leaders to find out their needs.

Gather multiple team leaders together and find out what needs they have. I recently met with our church’s small groups team, and we shared with each other the leadership holes we each have. It’s important for us to know cross-ministry leadership roles so that when we’re recruiting a potential leader, we each have in the back of our mind, “College ministry needs 5 new leaders, adult small groups needs 2, elementary groups needs 4, etc..” We’re on the lookout for potential leaders in multiple areas, not just our own. Our team operates on the win/win principle.

3. Listen for gifts and passions.

As you recruit leaders, listen for their gifts and passions. Finding the best fit for a leader is more important than fitting them somewhere on my team simply because we have a need. If I sit with a leader and recruit them for college, instead of preschool, it’s not that college “wins” and preschool “loses.” College “wins” and our organization “wins” because when college ministry is better, we’re all better.

 4. Intentionally invest in another team, expecting nothing in return.

Once you’ve listened to the needs present in other teams, you are aware of the holes that they have. Don’t just sit on that information…send some leaders and resources their way! Be generous. If you’re thinking “win/win,” then you’ll trust that if another team takes a step forward, that doesn’t force you to take a step backwards. It helps the whole organization progress.

5. Congratulate another team member on his or her accomplishment.

Instead of festering over how she’s succeeding, genuinely congratulate her. Be excited for the steps forward she and her team are taking. When you create an environment of mutual encouragement, you’re less likely to look for areas to undercut other team members.

When everybody on the team understands the win/win concept, you have a better chance of experiencing forward momentum. Without it, expect backbiting and disunity to dominate.

What kind of team are you on right now?



6 Reasons a “Yes” Man will Demolish Your Vision

Creation Swap User Savannah Daniel

Having a team of people around you that agree with you on everything feels great in the moment. You feel like a king issuing awesomeness at every turn. Every idea, every decision, every complaint and every shout is greeted by a resounding, “Yes!” You can’t do anything wrong. Everybody wants to be you.

Little do you know, you may be leading your organization straight into the ground.

While I was in grad school, I called these guys, “lackeys.” Familiar with the term? A lackey is, formally, someone who does menial tasks or runs errands for another.” (Merriam-Webster) I define it as someone who is constantly at your beckon call. In grad school, these were the guys who wore suits to class every day and ran little errands around for the professor. It was pitiful, really. Everywhere the professor went, so did the lackey. These guys were little clones, thinking and teaching like their leader.

Every leader can find little “lackeys.” Every leader, however, should surround themselves with people who think and operate differently.

Because a “Yes” man just could demolish your vision.

6 Reasons a “Yes” man will Demolish your Vision

1. Maybe you need to hear, “No.”

For “no” – I can sometimes have some dumb ideas. Really dumb. And I need someone to say, “Nope. Move on. Start moving in a different direction.”

2. Maybe you need to hear, “Yes.”

I have a tendency to be pretty hard on myself. Yet sometimes my ideas are really good. And I need someone to come alongside me and encourage me with, “Yes, your’e headed in the right direction even though you may think you’re not.”

3. You need pushback on your ideas

I process things out loud, so I need someone who’s going to push back on my ideas and not just take them at face value because I said them. I need the occasional, “Why? Are you sure? Why now? Why him? Why not this?” Reminder to self: you’re not as great as you think.

4. Unity is not the same as conformity.

We should pursue unity, but that doesn’t have to be conformity. Unity means that we can operate together as a team even though we have differing ideas. Unity promotes healthy growth. Conformity can produce growth, but it can also lead to a cess pool of thoughts that never evolve and get better.

5. Commiserating can take you down a dangerous path.

Ever headed there? It starts out innocently. You’re tired and frustrated, so you vent to someone else. And instead of them saying, “Whoa…hang on. You’re pretty bitter and angry right now. Why don’t you take a breather and come back in a few minutes?” They say, “Whoa…you’re right. That’s awful. In fact, it’s worse than you thought. Let me tell you about ___.” If you’ve ever been there, you know that this is a slippery slope.  “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” – Proverbs 13:20

6. “Leaders” are vital.

Leaders think for themselves and help the organization pursue what’s best for it. They don’t exist just to follow your leadership. They’re using the gifts God’s given them, and when they do that it is a thing of beauty for them and for you. Leaders produce leaders…followers do not. “Yes” men aren’t necessarily leaders. If you’ve only got followers in your organization right now, don’t expect them to produce, and attract, leaders.


Do you have people in your life that frustrate you because they always push back on your ideas?

*photo credit: Creation Swap user: Savannah Daniel


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