If selecting the right people and assigning them to the correct positions is the key to building a great organization, then turning your staff into one cohesive team is the next critical step. Since they are building a Kingdom business based on Kingdom values, you would think that it would be easy for Biblical Entrepreneurs to build a strong and unified team.
But in reality, it is just as difficult, if not more difficult, to build a Kingdom business because the last thing the enemy wants is a cohesive organization that is focused on transforming communities and nations in the name of Jesus. Therefore, he will wage spiritual war and resort to any means possible to try to shut it down or to hinder its effectiveness.
In less than three years, Jesus was able to build a team that would succeed Him and expand and carry on the work that He started. Through His team, He began to build what would become the greatest "franchise" on earth - the church. Jesus did this even though His core leadership team of 12 included one who would betray Him.
To learn how to best build our teams, let’s look at how Jesus built His team.
There are seven leadership principles for effective team building that we can learn from the life of Jesus:
1. Have a clear vision (Luke 4:18-19) – Jesus had a clear vision. He knew exactly why He was on the earth, and He was able to clearly state His purpose in a way that was easily understandable to others. Clarity of vision is critical to building a team. Your team must have a common direction and goal.
2. Have a clear plan (Habakkuk 2:2) – Without a clear plan, your team members cannot operate effectively. The plan for Jesus’ life was written in the Old Testament of the Bible. This is why He kept stating that "it is written." All your team members must operate from the same playbook.
3. Select team members based on their gifts and skills (Luke 5:10) – Jesus selected self-employed men who were capable catchers of fish (and He also drew followers from other professions). He knew that He could train them to become effective "fishers of men". Make sure you have the right gift and skill mix on your team. An organization must be able to operate like the physical body (1 Corinthians 12:27), with each part playing a specific role.
4. Train team members to fulfill their responsibility (John 17:8) – Jesus spent three years preparing His team members to carry out the vision. Your team members must be trained in two areas: your values and culture, and operational efficiency and excellence in their individual roles. Do not expect them to deliver if they have not been prepared in these areas.
5. Trust team members to perform their duties (Luke 9:1-6) – Jesus trusted His disciples to do what He had taught them to do, and to do it well. If the Master can trust mere mortals to carry out an eternal mission, then you can trust your team to carry out the mission of your organization. You need to be flexible enough to accept that they may not do things exactly the way that you would, but also to allow for the possibility they could become even more effective.
6. Evaluate team members’ performance (Matthew 17:14-21) – Jesus was continually evaluating the disciples’ performance, and helping them improve their skills as well as their character and Kingdom values. He did this both through teaching and through leading by example. Continual evaluation of team members and providing opportunities for improvement are keys to building an effective team.
7. Reward your team members (Mark 10:29-31) – Jesus rewarded His team with temporal and everlasting rewards. Share the financial success of your Kingdom business with members of your team, based upon their performance. Also, find creative ways to reward them based on their personalities, personal interests, and needs. This will show them in a practical way that you care about them and value them as people.
Regardless of how effective your leadership may be, it is impossible to build a perfect team. Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus, was part of His core leadership group. Every leader will experience team-building challenges.
Rather than focusing on building a perfect team, focus on building a culture of integrity, and have processes in place that enable you to expose any weak areas of your organization or of individuals, and then learn to confront them appropriately, using biblical principles as your guide. One thing to learn is that not everything needs to be confronted; sometimes patience is needed to allow situations to either self-correct or self-destruct.
Building a successful team is not about eliminating all the problems. It is about identifying them and dealing with them appropriately. A great leader knows where the "skeletons" are hidden, but continues to lead without any fear, trusting God to provide grace and wisdom and to light the way forward with His love, strength, and guidance.
My prayer for you today is that God will give you the grace to build a winning team with the culture, values, and operational excellence that will in turn enable you to successfully build His Kingdom company for His glory.