5 Functions of a Healthy Team

School Leadership

Candace Johnson, a Bethel Redding Senior Pastor, often says, “If we can accomplish our dream by ourselves, then our dream is too small.” What a powerful challenge to dream bigger and a reminder that we need others to make our dreams a reality. This is never more true than when you are building and leading a school of supernatural ministry. You need a team!

It’s true that you can accomplish more with a team, but remember, teamwork is not something you can create by simply placing individuals together to pursue a vision. Building a unified team takes prayer, effort, intentionality, and time.

In Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni shares the five functions that he believes makes or breaks a strong team. Drawing from Lencioni, we want to highlight five keys to help you develop a team that successfully works together to bring your school dreams to life.

1. Build Trust

Trust is the foundation for teamwork. Team members that trust one another stick together. They are not easily swayed by obstacles and remain loyal to the vision. So how do you develop trust on a team? We believe it begins with vulnerability!

On a team, vulnerability looks like team members not being afraid to be honest. In fact, they say things like, “I was wrong,” “I made a mistake,” “I need help,” “I am not sure,” or “I’m sorry.” Vulnerability opens the door to intimacy on a team.

At BSSM, we have a high value for creating a safe place for our team members to be vulnerable. To create that environment, we don’t punish individuals for their honesty. Instead, we seek to understand their hearts. If they have a need, we make ourselves available to help them.

As you lead your team, we encourage you to make it a priority to create a safe environment for your team to be vulnerable. Sometimes, that first starts with you demonstrating vulnerability as a leader. As you share your heart courageously, even admitting your fears, faults, or needs, you invite your team to trust you with theirs.

2. Master Conflict

Teams that trust one another are not afraid of conflict. They are willing to challenge the status quo or even disagree in order to make the best decisions.

Your team members carry different strengths and ideas of how to accomplish something. You don’t want to put the cap on what they have to bring for the sake of avoiding conflict! Instead, master conflict. With wisdom and grace, you can develop an environment where they can express themselves in a way that benefits your school.

We have a “feedback culture” at BSSM where we invite our team members to share their opinions, most often during staff or one-on-one meetings. What makes our culture successful is that we offer feedback with honor! We share our ideas with respect for other people. With honor, we remain strong contributors, relationally connected, and productive through conflicts.

This value draws out individuals’ diverse strengths. It creates a safe place for individuals to disagree without becoming divided.

3. Achieve Commitment

When you are navigating conflict within a team, the end goal should not always be that every single person agrees. That’s right! A team full of loyal, committed individuals doesn’t always have to come to the same conclusion.

According to Lencioni, “Commitment is not consensus.” Even when they disagree, team members will have “buy-in,” when they feel heard. As they are invited to put all their ideas out on the table, they will feel valued. Even if they have a different opinion, they will choose the move forward with whatever decision is made when they know they have a place to share.  

At BSSM, we have created a devoted team by creating space for team members to share. We also intentionally hire individuals we trust and who we know trust us. They are men and women who will not avoid conflict and work to protect relationships. Because they are committed to our school family, these team members don’t leave their roles because of disagreement; they remain loyal through thick and thin.

As a team leader, you can create a culture of honor and empowerment that earns their loyalty! Also, we recommend hiring individuals that you know and trust; those who will remain loyal to your school.

4. Embrace Accountability

Teams that are committed are not afraid to hold one another accountable. They focus on what’s best for the team by setting aside their individual agendas and help keep their teammates on track.

You can foster accountability on your team by first modeling it. That means being willing to have hard conversations when a team member’s behavior isn’t lining up with your core values. We encourage you to use individual meetings to give someone on your team constructive feedback. When honor drives these conversations, they can lead to greater levels of connection and productivity. As you demonstrate accountability to the members on your team, they will learn how to do it for one another.

At BSSM, we practice confrontation to help one another stay on track. We believe the goal of confrontation is to love others and deepen our connection with them. When we negatively experience a team member’s actions, we approach that person with gentleness and belief in his/her identity. We do not use manipulation or control. Instead, we seek solutions by asking questions and clearing up any miscommunication.

As you practice confrontation within your team, we encourage you to lead conversations by first seeking to understand before being understood. Trust that God will use these moments to create a greater sense of family within your team.

5. Focus on Results

Lastly, we encourage you to empower your team to succeed by keeping the vision in front of you! It’s the principle of Habakkuk 2:2, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.”

As a team leader, you have an important role of clearly and consistently defining the steps your team needs to pursue the vision. This will help your team remain focused! Also, to be efficient and to continue to gain forward momentum, it’s important that your team consistently evaluates if you are producing the results you are looking for.

At BSSM, we constantly remind ourselves of our purpose to raise up revivalists! To help us determine if we are achieving our goals, we consistently evaluate if our environment is in fact producing world changers that carry our core values. To determine if we are equipping students to reproduce revival, we have clearly defined the lifestyle of a revivalist. We have outlined the choices and behaviors that flow from a revivalist.

To help your team carry out your purpose, we recommend taking time to thoughtfully plan what it looks like to pursue your vision! Ask yourselves, “What are the results we are looking for? What are we trying to produce?” May the Holy Spirit meet you with wisdom and grace to pursue your school dreams!

Go Together

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We have definitely seen this truth in in our school environment. While leading BSSM, many of our dreams have come to fruition because of our connection with the Lord and the members on our team. We know we can’t accomplish anything on our own because we are more powerful and effective when we work together.

As you lead your school, may God give you wisdom to collaborate with those He has placed around you! We pray He gives you strategy to develop a team and a team culture that draws on the fullness of your team’s anointing, gifts, and strengths–creating abundant fruit in your school environment.  

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