March 25, 2018 • Life for Leaders
The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.”
“Help me help you. HELP ME, HELP YOU!” Most of you may recall this memorable scene in the 1996 classic Jerry Maguire. These words were being uttered out of desperation by an agent (Tom Cruise) to the talent (Cuba Gooding Jr.). This agent was frustrated and exasperated as the talent was undercutting all of his efforts to nail a contract for him. Although we laugh at this scenario, it possibly rings true for some of us. Are you the leader of a vision or work? How well do you steward this work? Do you have a team that helps you? Most importantly, how well do you manage this team?
Every Christian visionary needs a team to help staff the great work that God entrusted to them. Working with teams can increase the reach and the scope of your vision. Sharing responsibilities can help you conserve energy and add efficiency to your work. Each member of your team brings unique skills to the table that add value to the work and enhance the vision. A great leader is often accompanied by stellar and exemplary people who make up their team, and a great leader knows how to manage this team correctly.
In the scripture passage above, Moses had gathered a number of men and commissioned them as co-laborers in God’s work. These were seventy different men, with seventy different strengths, seventy different mindsets, seventy different temperaments, and seventy different needs at any given time. Moses was the leader of a large team of leaders with unique skills that had to be all pointed towards one overarching mission. The upside for Moses was that he now had more help than when he first took on the assignment. The challenge: He would have to learn how to manage this wide array of personalities and skills in order to succeed. Having a team can be a gift if you manage them well, and it can be a burden if you don’t.
As an advisor to leaders, I have seen countless visions stray because of one major issue: the leader’s inability to properly engage and manage the team. Some leaders lead from a space of high expectation but low communication, as if their staff is telepathic or deeply prophetic. Others do all the work and underutilize their team, resulting in a subpar quality of their product. And then there are the risk-averse leaders who avoid confrontations at all cost—including the ones where they must resolve team conflicts before the ship is sunk.
This series is meant to provide you with small devotional-sized nuggets to equip you to effectively manage the team that works with you. Some leaders have lost good quality talent because they wore out the help. The team around you is in your corner rooting for you! They want you to win and succeed! And sometimes our team members are so polite that they stay silent instead of expressing how some of our habits and practices hinder their ability to fully assist us. At all levels of leadership there is room for growth in our communication with our teams. It is time for you to help them help you.
Something to Do:
Take the time to have your team give you an honest evaluation of your leadership style. Have them list your strengths as well as areas of improvement.
God, help me become a leader who accepts and affirms the help of my team. Let me recognize their strengths, and grow us in our ability to communicate with one another. For you and for the mission you have set before us, we pray, Amen.