So in the process of building our team of leaders we’ve prayed, we’ve prepared, we’ve pursued, what do we do next? It’s time to place them.
Generally during the pursue phase of team building I “make an ask” of the person I’m talking with. I invite them to join the team or to take a next step in their leadership. That “ask”, remember, is a soft ask. Meaning, I allow them time to pray and process this decision individually and with their family.
I don’t let that “ask” hang out there in space indefinitely. Generally I’ll say, “I’m going to contact you in a few days or in a week to see where you are at.” A week is the longest I go without a follow up. Otherwise things just seem to get awkward. They know I’ll be following up with them. It is also quite critical to meet this deadline. Remember you are still building trust with them as a leader.
So, you have the follow up conversation. And they are all in. The next thing to do is place them.
Two keys to placing new leaders properly:
Placing a new team leader – in the right area of service:
In the case of placing a new team leader, I’ve found it beneficial to let them know the area of greatest need. But in the end let them choose which area they prefer to be placed in. People serve best where they have the most passion. When at all possible, let them choose.
A note of caution: Each time you place a leader; you should exercise your God-given discernment. For example, don’t let the guy that gives you the creeps, or the overly emotionally needy lady become a student ministry small group leader. It just won’t work – and that ministry will suffer for obvious reasons if you ignore discernment. So, listen to discernment, and suggest a different area for them to start. Maybe they will grow into that role at another time? Placing the wrong leader just to have a leader should never be an option. You DON'T need leaders that bad. Or if you do, perhaps you should reevaluate if that ministry should continue.
Placing a new team leader – with the right leader to train them:
Also, as a new team leader joins your team, you will want to pair them up with an existing leader. Don’t just place them in a vacant spot. Place them with another leader. Ideally that other leader would be someone you would want “more of”. Meaning that person in your ministry that you think, “wow if I could just have 100 of him or her”. Why not let that new person be trained by them?
Side note: That’s probably a good indication of an existing leader that should be asked to take a new step in their leadership too.
If you don’t have that kind of leader ready to train up this new team member you are placing, then you’ll have to take the time to get in there and train that new leader up. It’s typically not ideal to throw new leaders into roles without support. If you do, you can quickly expect there to be significant discouragement in that leader.
Also the right person to train someone may also be someone who exists on your team that you feel this new incoming leader is just going to click well with. Maybe they have common interests? Maybe they have common family dynamic? Maybe they have common spiritual story? Maybe they have common personalities? Remember you are building a team. Team chemistry breeds inspiration, passion, and fun. Use it to the benefit of the team. Once you help them find a place you will want to prep them for that first time they serve.
Six tips for successful entry onto your team:
1. Set a time for them to arrive and promise them that you will meet with them.
2. Let that team member who’ll be doing the training know you’ll be introducing them to a new leader. Let them know that you paired them together because you’d love to see a million more leaders like them in the ministry you lead. Hopefully your team is healthy enough where this task is seen with wide-eyed expectancy. Not territorialism. If it’s territorialism, then you’ve got some work to do when it comes to team culture training. That’s another talk for another time.
3. Introduce the new team member to the current team member you have prepped. Don’t let that new team member wonder around trying to figure out where to go or what to do. Help them get connected.
4. Talk with the new team member immediately following their experience to find out how things went. Make sure they are honest with you and listen to all feedback. Those new eyes into your ministry may give you new knowledge you didn’t have about the ministry you lead.
5. Remind them of when they are scheduled to serve again.
6. Send a follow up hand written note personal note in the mail as follow up. Let them know how much you value their time, how excited you are they are taking this step in serving, and that you are praying for them.
That last #6 tip, I don’t always hit this one 100% but it pays each time I do. It also gets into the final recommendation that I have for those looking for leaders and that is to pamper your team. I’ll blog about that one next.