I am journeying through the land of the in-between in my assignments leaving a position as a Campus Pastor for an incredible church and discerning where my next assignment in terms of calling will take me. In the two previous leadership teams that I had the privilege to serve with for the past six years there are ten characteristics in my reflection that are important character traits for a person to be an effective team member. I call them my “BIG TEN!” Here are the first five characteristics:
Teachable: It is important that every person on the team including the “Lead Pastor” be a student of personal change. This means that one has the capacity to admit that they still have more to learn and can learn from other members of the team. Arrogance is not a spiritual-gift neither do people perform at high levels when a key member or members on the team are know-it-alls! People tend to be able trust people who admit that they have clay feet and are not “All-Knowing!” John Maxwell when speaking about leaders states, “A man or woman must be big enough to admit his or her mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”
Positive Attitude: Nothing destroys team dynamics quicker than a wet-blanket who is constantly negative for the sake of being negative about everything. People who have negative attitudes often times take on the mindset of being a victim. I have discovered (By Personal Experience), that negative people want to be paternalistic or maternalistic with other members of the team in such a way that they desire to parent members of the team rather than have a shared adult-to adult peer relationship. People with positive attitudes believe in people enough to allow them to graduate.
Happy about the Successes of Others: One’s own sense of personal identity is the greatest pillar for one being a great team member. Insecurity kills team culture. When there is much emotional energy in attempting to prop up someone on the team who is constantly insecure it can over time discourage other members of the team enough to begin to detach from the mission. I have learned that you do not place an insecure person in a vital role of team leadership. It’s not safe for them to fail forward and grow. Furthermore, it is not safe for members of the team to move ahead on mission. Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:11, is key because it is always easier for some to weep with another than to rejoice with another when they have need to rejoice because of their insecurity.
Sense of humor: It is important in my last two previous assignments to have fun and to enjoy one another. It is good when church leadership teams have a healthy sense of play. Matter-of-fact when teams do not have this they tend to relapse into “regressive type of thinking” which means that team members are no longer exercising the best of their creative imagination to the table.
Loyalty – It is a non-negotiable that. Team members be loyal to the Senior Leadership of the church as well as loyal to each other. Years ago John Maxwell once stated that one must be loyal to the man or woman that is leading as well as to the mission that they serve. It is my conviction that it is the lack of loyalty that erodes healthy debate. I have learned being a senior leader that people will always be the “Couch Quarterback” and they will want to critique you from a point of arrogance. I love my senior pastor, and when people want to go negative I simply remind them that he is my pastor and before you critique him harshly, you may want to consider that he leads a congregation larger than many cities in America. That usually puts a conversation to rest. Loyalty will always breed a culture of TRUST!
Here is the first five of my big ten and I would like to receive any feedback that you may have concerning this article. Maybe you have some of your own BIG TEN that you would like to add to this list! Before I go any further I want to communicate to the Team that I served with at Trinity Christian Center in Artesia, CA (which is now The Well), and to the team that I served with at the Bayside Lincoln Campus as well as the greater Bayside Church Leadership Team, thank you for being part of the journey in shaping me to be a better leader.