Essential Qualities of Great Team Members

In my role at Journey as the Director of Worship & Arts, I’m involved in a lots of teams.  As a staff, we function as a team (even if it is just two of us); I’m a part of the Core Leadership Team, I lead the Worship Team, and I’m responsible for various other teams, like our Roadies, Tech teams and more. Teams are a big part of what I do and for the most part, they make life and ministry better. One of my mantras is that the team will out-perform the individual every time. When the right people combine their efforts and focus it on accomplishing a common goal, the collective wins.

In the many different teams I’ve been on over the years, some have been good and others, well, have been lacking. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a “bad” team necessarily, but there have definitely been teams that I’ve been a part of that have performed way below where they were capable of.  So what makes one group of individuals perform better than another?

I believe that a large part of what makes a successful team is what each individual brings to the table. However I’m NOT talking about talent here. Talent can only carry you so far. What really matters are the qualities that the team member brings to the team and I believe that there are three things that you’ll find in the team members of successful teams:

  • Commitment: both to the team itself and to the mission/goal of the team. If these are missing, you can stop reading the rest of the list because if you have all the rest of the list but lack this one, it doesn’t matter. What does commitment look like? It’s putting the team as a priority, being serious about your role on the team and the importance of your part in making things happen – realizing that the team succeeds or fails based on the sum of its members – and they can’t be added if they’re not there! True commitment is not half-hearted. It takes all that you have to be committed to making your team work.
  • The Ability to Successfully Collaborate: If you’re unwilling to work together and/or take constructive criticism to make yourself, and thus your team, better, why are you on a team? Successful collaboration is critical to helping your team be all that it can be. There are no “Lone Rangers” when it comes to being on a team.
  • Passion: This is one of those things that you either have or you don’t. As of yet, I don’t think there’s a way to inject someone with passion to make them excited about something. (If that ability did exist, you can bet your tuccas that advertisers would be all over that and we’d all be strangely excited about each new product to hit the shelves. But I digress…) As a team leader, nothing frustrates me more than when someone on the team isn’t passionate about what the team is doing. You can’t fake passion and if you try, it’s practically visible from space.

These three qualities will make or break your team. Yes, there are other qualities that are also important, but if you don’t have these three, you’re in big trouble. So what do you do if you’re missing one of these essential qualities? We’ll explore that next time.

About Matthew Starner

Matthew Starner is pastor of Journey of Faith Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they help people take their next step on their journey with Jesus.

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