Five Characteristics of a Healthy Team

Regardless of the context, good leadership is not a lone wolf activity. It takes a team or community of people to lead well.

On some level, all people who lead are aware of this, yet there are a variety of factors that inhibit the development of leadership teams.

Insecurity is high on that list, as are issues of control and a need for approval from others. Developing quality leadership teams takes intentionality and discipline.

Here are five necessary characteristics that I have observed in healthy teams (and missing from unhealthy teams) with whom I have worked. Don’t let familiarity detract from their value to transform your leadership culture, for they are also vetted out by experience.

Competence: Of course it goes without saying that we want people who are effective at their facet of the task. What does a particular role require a person to be good at? What determines effectiveness?

Character: Leading together is a relational activity. It requires trustworthiness and adherence to standards. When we are exposed and vulnerable it is invaluable to know that we won’t be taken advantage of. What personal goals does the person leading have? How much oversight is required to ensure things get done? How honest does the person evaluate their self?

Commitment: It is always hoped that a person has a commitment to more than a paycheck or accolades. But, commitment goes beyond loyalty to a task or vision. What is the commitment to balance? How open to growth and transition is the person? Setting up to lead for the long term.

Chemistry: This may be the hardest to ascertain initially. Will you and others enjoy working with this person? Is there drama or a focus on self? Does this person bring energy to the group or a sense of exacerbation?

While the previous four are seemingly well understood, this last characteristic is rarely talked about. But, I have observed this in all effective teams:

Complementary: However your measure strengths (whether it is StrenghFinders, DISC, Myers-Briggs, temperament scale, prophet-priest-king, etc.), the best leadership communities have diversity. Often the inclination is to surround ourselves with people who are similar to our style (maybe because we connect with them better?). It takes discipline and security to overcome this tendency. What are your areas of weakness? Where do you need the most support? What are your blind spots?

One leader communicated his philosophy to me like this: “I try to pick people who are stronger in their area of strength than I am in mine. This has allowed me to excel in what I do well and empowered them to own their areas of leadership.”

 In what areas do you need to improve your team dynamics? What is your first step?

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I work with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.

Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group coaching,  speaking at organizations/churches, workshops on marriage/discipleship/leadership, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.

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