What Goes into Building a Successful Team?

Last Updated Sunday, June 7, 2015
By Rev. Micki McCorckle

Church Council has decided the congregation needs a team to reach a goal. Where do we start? Who should be on it?

Here are some thoughts from the Congregational Excellence Team on starting well.

Building the right team

Start with the end in mind – What’s the goal/purpose of this team?

  • What are the key components of reaching this goal?
  • What gifts and talents are needed to reach the goal?
  • Who has these gifts and talents?
  • Prayerfully bring 5-8 people on board who match the criteria.

Who makes a good team member?

Someone who is:

  • ? Respectful of others
  • ? Reliable
  • ? Communicates effectively for the goal you are working to attain
  • ? Listens well
  • ? Open to the ideas of others
  • ? Exhibits flexibility for changing processes
  • ? Jumps in to help

Once the team is together

Relationship building and communication are crucial, especially during the first few months. Patrick Lencioni says the 5 things healthy teams need are:

Trust, ability to have healthy conflict, clear purpose and commitment to the purpose, accountability, and attention to results

Each of these items builds on the other, so it is important to begin building trust from the beginning. Below are some ideas that will help you build trust and strengthen your team.

  • Do some team-building time – conversation, picnic, games (if your group is up to games). Even if everyone already knows each other, they have not been a team together for this particular purpose. Build relationships together around the topic and goal – learn together, discuss options together, brainstorm together, do a site visit.
  • Create a covenant together – This document names team values (ex: respect, honesty), the ways the team will operate together and commitments to each other while being part of the team (examples: All ideas are welcome. We will be on time to all meetings; if we are going to miss, we will let another team member know).
  • Keep the goal/purpose of the team clearly before the group – This helps the team stay focused and moving toward the goal.
  • Have clear roles for team members – This includes having a clearly named facilitator. Or, it is clear that the facilitatorship will rotate. Clearly defined roles helps each person function at their maximum capacity and avoids members completely the same task.
  • Realize that conflict will occur – Don’t fear conflict or disagreements. The team needs to take the time to work through conflict when it arises.
  • Communicate regularly and clearly with each other. This may take place at regularly scheduled meetings or by email. An email update from one team member to the full team can also be a reminder to another team member that there is a task to accomplish.
  • Encourage and praise one another – With genuineness, thank a team member for bringing a good idea, getting a tough task done, etc. Kind words go a long way toward keeping up morale and stamina.

The Rev. Micki McCorckle is Small-Church Membership coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. Contact her at mmccorckle@greatplainsumc.org.

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