Leading Your Team
Being a team leader is a very exciting and rewarding opportunity. This will surely be a time of growth for you and your team. It is important to go into this with that mindset. You will face adversity in your time as a team; how you deal with these challenges is what matters. As a team leader you don’t need to have all the answers, but preparation will help you in your task.
Picture someone in your life that you see as a strong leader. Spend some time thinking about the qualities that make this person a good leader. For example, how do they handle challenging situations? Do they avoid them, or are they able to confront problems in a positive way? Then think about how you will put these qualities into practice.
Work through this training in your own time before going through it with your team. You will be better prepared to answer questions that come up. You may need to collect some material from your International Office before you begin.
This training is designed to be implemented over a five week period that wraps up a week before your team travels to Africa, with a final debrief session once the team has returned home. It is important to set out your entire training schedule before starting Session One. Team members should commit to attend all training sessions and following up on any material they miss.
Remember your International Office can be a huge support to you in this, especially in answering any questions that your team may have. The section on International Offices in Session Two will explain further.
Mathew 20, verse 26 says “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom.” This speaks a lot about the heart with which we should be leading.
Tips for Team Leaders
- Lead with a servant’s heart.
- This may seem backwards to the way our Western world runs, but serving your team will win their respect. As a team leader you must find a way to empower others and build them up. Recognise the gifts in others and use their skills. There can be a fine line between leading and controlling, which makes it important to lead by serving others.
- When speaking with your team use collective words like “we”, “our” and “us” rather than “me”, “my”, “mine”, “you” and “them”. We are running this race together; support your team with your language.
- Be flexible and open up to suggestions and new ideas.
- Give credit to your team. Recognise individual achievements that contribute to the team, while being sensitive not to overdo praise with only a small number of individuals.
- Involve everyone; try not to leave anyone out. Sometimes we need to find a way to encourage those who may be quiet and may tend to hang back.
- A good team leader will be able to inspire confidence and be respected by his/her team. The leader should trust his/her team members. Be brave and delegate tasks to them, allowing each individual to accomplish the tasks in their own way. Because some of the tasks are delegated, the leader will have more time to be productive in overseeing the entire project.
- Give praise in public and correct in private.
Motivating Your Team
Motivating your team can be a challenge. Some teams are naturally filled with motivation while others may struggle to connect with each other and engage in activities. Your team will be a mix of different personalities, levels of motivation and abilities.
One of the best ways to motivate your team is to lead by example. Your passion and commitment will inspire your team. This is only the first step in motivating your team.
Creating an inclusive training environment is a task that begins before participants even arrive and one that continues throughout the course of the training. As the saying goes, “it’s not what we say but do” that most influences people. The leader’s ability to create an inclusive atmosphere is critical. Appreciating people with a simple Please or Thank you can also go a long way in motivating them. You will find different ways in these pages to help you strengthen your team’s relationship.