6 Ways to a Better Team

Originally published as 6 Ways to Lose Bad Staff Members on ChurchLeaders.com

I read a lot of blogs and articles on helpful approaches to retaining quality leaders and building better teams. These pieces are informative, insightful and have inspired me to write a similar post with a little different spin.

While misguided standards and practices are detrimental to keeping great staff members and employees, the inverse is also true. Sound approaches and values can weed out and protect an organization from bad personnel. Unhealthy team members can’t function, hide their toxicity or survive in a healthy environment.

I’ve been in and around leadership my whole adult life. I started leading teams in my early twenties and the last 18 years have taught me the importance of keeping a great staff member and the blessing of losing a bad one. So, if you want to make sure you have the right kind of people on your team, here are five ways to do it:

1. Don’t Say “Yes” All the Time

Lazy, inefficient leaders require instant gratification. But not every request warrants or deserves an affirmative response. Some things need to wait and some probably don’t need to happen at all. Great staff members accept and understand that hearing “no” is part of the leadership journey and can open the door for a bigger “yes” later.

2. Set High Goals and Motivate

Poor leaders are naysayers. Health care expert, Tricia Cunningham once proclaimed, “The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.” People that want to excel are not contrarians to possibility and potential. They can take coaching and motivation that will help them achieve great things. If your goals don’t scare you a little, it’s time to adjust them upward.

3. Embrace the Challenge

Difficult circumstances, especially those of the traumatic kind, reveal character, depth and endurance in team members. There are special circumstances and exceptions to this, but poor leaders are overwhelmed by life and just can’t get going when it takes a demanding turn.

4. Be Accountable

It is true that great leaders are inspired by the freedom to fail, but they also realize that perpetual failure and willful negligence is not indicative of excellence. A poor leader calls accountability “micromanagement” or “meddling” and will demand that you constantly tolerate their subpar effort.

5. Grow and Change

Poor leaders, like mosquitoes, flourish in stagnation. Growth and progress require confidence, faith and humility. Movement changes things, which dictates higher levels of leadership and decision-making. As the saying goes, it separates the adults from the children.

6. Be Vulnerable

When a team is genuine and open, they grow closer to each other. This can be unsettling to someone not interested in authenticity and relationship. People that you want on your team, in the trenches with you every day, are not afraid of being vulnerable.  

Quality leadership is transformative and it should be regarded as positive for the team and organization to lose a staff member who doesn’t want to be a part of transformation or take the steps to be a better leader.

LeadershipJason Autry