Our theme this month is Transformational Teams. As I pursued the Lord for guiding verses for the month, I landed in John 15. In just five verses, John captures more about teams than we may have ever supposed.
Jesus is, by nature and substance, part of a team. Not only is He the “only begotten” of our Heavenly Father, at His baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and did not depart. As Christians: Christ’s image bearers, how do we exemplify “Team Trinity”? How do we build an effective team based on love, trust, and forgiveness (a triple braided cord)?
By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
– Ecclesiastes 4:12
A Team of 12
Jesus, the ultimate team embodied in One, built his own team to conduct ministry. First, He called twelve working guys, average marketplace men to follow Him, to become ”fishers of men” (The Visionary Stage) (Mark 1:17). Then, He appointed them (Mark 3:13-15) and imparted a Kingdom message (Matthew 5:1-20) (The Cohesive Stage & The Functional Responsibility Stage). The development of the disciples consisted of experiencing Jesus’ preaching, teaching, healing, and the like (The Relactional Stage). Alongside Him, they also engaged their world with a gospel message and practical (natural and supernatural) ministry (The Continuous Improvement Stage). How do we, as the Lord’s chosen ones in this modern era, follow in His footsteps and those of the team of twelve?
The 5 Stages of Building Teams*
As believers today, we can utilize the biblically based recipe captured in Ford Taylor’s Transformational Leadership to build, grow, and maintain thriving teams.
1: The Visionary Stage
In this stage it’s important that team members talk to each other openly and honestly. As trust is developed, discomfort is removed, and anxiety is eliminated. As you may be considering, trust takes time. Sometimes, it’s important to be in stage one (or revisit it) until team members are truly ready for the next level.
2: The Cohesive Stage
Once trust is established, team members can start accepting one another and each other’s roles (even though they may not be clearly identified yet). As I mentioned in our post about “Leadership Foundations,” personal responsibility is key in this stage, especially as roles are being determined.
3: The Functional Responsibility Stage
By now, each person accepts responsibility for his or her own thoughts, feelings, and actions. In addition, the role of each team member is clearly identified. Once teams reach this critical juncture, members are free to focus on each other feelings and departments, not just their own.
4: The Relactional Stage
Last week we got a preview of “Relactional Leadership.” At this stage, team members can examine individual, group, and organizational concerns free of fear and threat. In other words, where there is trust, personal responsibility, and role clarity, evaluation becomes friend, not foe.
5: The Continuous Improvement Stage
A stage five team can self-evaluate and corporately pursue improvement. At this stage, groups and individuals pursue better thoughts, feelings, and actions as a group and as individuals both inside and beyond their group.
“T” is for Trust
You may have noticed that each stage rests on a trust foundation. When building teams, if there are cracks, breaks, or breaches of trust…disaster usually ensues. That’s why Jesus’ commandment to “love one another” (John 15:12) is so important. As we extend love as it’s described in 1 Corinthians 13, real, lasting trust can be built, teams can grow, communities can thrive, and the world can heal.
Lindsay Fleming is the State Administrator for the North Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (NC-C3). At heart, she is a God-inspired expressionist. Her driving passion is expressing revelations of God through prayer, writing, and design. Lindsay’s work can be found at PropheticGrounds.com. Lindsay can be reached at office@NC-C3.org.
*The 5 Stages to Building Teams are adapted from the Transformational Leadership training manual.
Transformational Leadership helps you identify, address and remove personal, team and process constraints. Removing these constraints allows transformation to occur and encourages healthy, trusting relationships to grow.
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