How is your team or staff doing?
Over the years, I have had some great teams and some great seasons of ministry with people that I love and enjoy. The team I lead today is not the same one I led 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.
There have even been changes in the last five years. There have been changes in the last five months. I also understand that leadership changes in the organization that I serve will lead to inevitable future changes.
Some of the people I love and respect the most will not make the journey.
That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a reality. For some, their future opportunities will propel them to places of great joy and success. Admittedly, others will go through painful transitions.
In John Maxwell’s book, “The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork,” he points out three reasons that some team members do not stay with their team or organization during times of change.
Some team members simply do not want to take the journey
They know that change is coming. They either do not want to make changes, fear the coming changes, disagree with the changes, or use the transition as an exit ramp to do something else.
This is not a negative. The exit is positive both for the individual and the organization. You may miss this person, but why would you want to work alongside anyone who does not want to be there?
Some team members should not take the journey
In some circumstances, an organization has very talented and competent team members who have a different vision or agenda. Their view on leadership, direction, goals, priorities, doctrine (in a Christian setting), or strategy is in such contradiction to the leadership and direction of the organization that they are like oil in water. They simply do not mix. They are capable, but they likely will not continue with the current organization.
Those who find themselves in such circumstances – and who have integrity – will graciously remove themselves over the course of time, and that’s best for both the person and the organization.
Not every team member can take the journey.
Oftentimes team members get locked into a position and do enough to get by but not enough to make a great difference. They are not incompetent (though some may be) but they have lost their passion, or they have lost their effectiveness. It may be that they need a new mountain to climb. A new opportunity can be the impetus to renew their growth and to give them fruit for their labor.
However, they may have disqualified themselves in the current role or organization because they allowed their growth to be stunted. Ideally, a graceful exit will be arranged but they are not likely to make the journey of change in the current organization.
Do you recall a biblical example of this ever happening? Consider Acts 15:36-41.
And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
In this example the team members changed but all members, new and former, continued to thrive in their ministry and leadership over the course of time.
Enjoy your team, and enjoy your next one, too. However, don’t be taken off guard by the changes. Enjoy the seasons of stability and embrace the seasons of change. They are both a part of the journey as you seek to maximize your leadership.
Steve Parr serves as a state missionary and chief strategist for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.