There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.
– Lyndon Johnson
I have been a student of leadership for decades, and one of my personal missions in life is to develop and equip as many leaders as possible. The word “leader” itself implies an individual, and I truly do desire to help you become a better leader as I continue to grow myself.
However, if you do not have a team to lead then you are not actually a leader. The leader is an individual but he or she stands at the hub of an organization, a team, a community, a business, a church, or some group. The aim of the leader is to move that collection of individuals in a purposeful direction providing inspiration, support, vision, training, problem-solving, and of course “leadership.” While you stand out front you cannot accomplish what needs to be done by yourself.
Gene Wilkes reminds leaders of five reasons teams are superior to individuals when it comes to accomplishing a mission or task.
- Teams involve more people affording more resources, ideas, and energy than would an individual.
- Teams minimize the weaknesses of any individual.
- Teams provide expanded perspectives that individual insight can rarely capture.
- Teams share credit for victory and blame for losses resulting in a stronger community and a greater capacity to overcome failures.
- Teams provide higher levels of accountability.
I will add a sixth:
- Teams multiply time, availability, intelligence, and creativity exponentially beyond the capability of any individual.
Does the Bible ever speak to a principle such as this? Consider Ephesians 4:11-16 with my commentary in italics.
11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
Jesus placed leaders in the church.
12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,
Jesus placed members of the body with intent they would work together to fulfill the purpose of the church.
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
Striving for unity in the faith is a never-ending task. We know what mature leadership looks like by Jesus’ example.
14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
Failure results in immature members who grow vulnerable to all kinds of attacks weakening the church.
15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.
Love without truth results in liberalism while truth without love results in legalism. “Every way” includes your own leadership skills.
16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
You are not to do the work alone. The more members you bring into the process of leadership the stronger you will be; it takes a team.
Effective leadership absolutely requires your personal development and strength. But when it comes to big decisions, strategic planning, and moving your mission forward, be certain to tap into the gifts and talents of a team. Applying these principles in your church or organization will make you stronger. That will help you to maximize your leadership.
Steve Parr serves as a state missionary and chief strategist for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.