I hope you took some time last month to reflect on “how things are going in your boat”… In that article we said that after prayer, the most important thing a leader can do is build a healthy culture for the teams they lead. Leaders must delegate a lot of things, but culture is not one of them. The leader is solely responsible for how healthy a team or ministry is. As a leader, being a “culture bearer” requires a shift in values, skills and allocation of time. For instance, as a staff member I should value being an effective contributor to the team and the mission. I do my part to enrich culture by embracing and embodying the Core Values and the TC DNA. I would be honing a particular skill such as teaching, counseling or computer skills. My time would be primarily allocated to working with students or in administration, completing my assigned tasks and responsibilities. As a leader, whether I’m leading a rally team, a work crew or a center, my values and skillset have to shift, as well as how I manage my time. It’s important what we value – we spend our time doing the things we value, and skills that are used without being instructed by values, aren’t done with much passion and creativity. So if I’m directing a center, and value making individual contributions such as counseling, I will probably pursue a degree in counseling and spend a lot of time counseling students. Instead, as a team leader, there has to be a shift – rather than valuing what I can contribute individually, I now value the success and contributions of others, I value the results of the whole team, I value the work and disciplines I need to do as a manager. This managerial skillset includes things like setting the culture, selecting the right people who are a fit for the culture, designing job descriptions, empowerment and delegation, performance evaluation and development, communication, building a cohesive team, and rewards and motivation. The book “The Leadership Pipeline” talks about this shift: “First-time managers need to learn how to reallocate their time so that they not only complete their assigned work but also help others perform effectively. They cannot allocate all of their time to putting out fires, seizing opportunities, and handling tasks themselves.” Putting out fires…yikes! Sounds like Teen Challenge! One of the challenges of leadership is slowing down the high speed train that we call Teen Challenge and valuing and spending time on the right things. Effective leaders and healthy organizations value an enriched culture and take the time to cultivate it. In the next 3 articles we’ll highlight 3 very practical areas in which a leader enriches culture: bringing the right people on the team, developing people, and building a cohesive team. In the meantime, assess how you allocate your time – how does it reflect what you value?
Article written by – Karissa Corpeny – Director of Corporate Training (TC Southeast)