Five Keys to a Healthy Team

Healthy Team

A Healthy Team is critical to accomplishing the mission of any organization. But seldom do I see a church, non-profit, or business that excels at organizational health. This so often has to do with the health of the leadership team. It is completely doable, however, to build and lead a healthy leadership team. How? I’m glad you asked. Here are 5 keys to a healthy team.

1. Create A Clear Job Description For Every Team Member

Every person on your team needs a clear job description. It is simply unfair to hold a person accountable for a job that you have not written down and clearly communicated. Stop everything that you are doing and make sure that every team member has a job description that is clear, up to date, and communicates what success looks like in his role.

Every quarter, make sure that each job description is updated according to what each team member is truly expected to do in his role.  This will both keep job descriptions up to date and will highlight areas of success or struggle for each team member.

2. Require Every Team Leader to Write an Annual Plan

Any person who is leading an area of your organization should write a plan annually for moving that area forward. In a church, for example, the leaders of children’s ministries, family ministries, worship ministries, small groups, or any other major ministry should write a plan every year. These plans will clarify what success and progress look like in each ministry. This plan should include Defining the Ministry, Describing the Present, Diagnosing Problems, Designing a Plan, and Detailing the Progress. You can read more about how to write this plan here and how to coach your team through an annual plan here.

3. Meet with each Direct Report a Minimum of Monthly

Every person on your team has a right to know how she is doing in her role. Many leaders don’t even take the time to regularly meet with each direct report. Meet a minimum of monthly with each direct report in order to LISTEN,  give feedback, offer help where needed, offer praise where appropriate, and bring correction in real time.

4. Embrace Real-Time Feedback

Performance Evaluations seldom work. What to do instead? Ken Blanchard in his book, the One Minute Manager, argues for what he calls “One Minute Praise” and “One Minute Reprimands.” When someone does something well, let them know right away. Consistently notice and recognize a job well done. When someone fails at something, tell the person what they did wrong quickly. Make sure to focus on the behavior of the person and not on the person himself.

Blanchard suggests this process: (With my edits)

Positive Feedback

  • Tell the person in advance that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
  • Praise the person immediately.
  • Tell the person what they did right – be specific.
  • Tell the person how their contribution has helped the organization and the other people who work in it.
  • Encourage the person to do more of the same.

Corrective Feedback

  • Tell a person in advance that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
  • Correct a person immediately. [correct the behavior, not the person or their worth]
  • Tell the person specifically what they did wrong.
  • Remind the person how much you value them.
  • Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.

5. Allow Team Members to Evaluate their Supervisors

One of the ways to ensure that leaders are effectively leading their direct reports is to have a process for them to be evaluated by those that they lead. Consider, annually, having each person answer a few questions regarding how well he is being led and supervised.


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