the shape of leadership

Seven Ways to Invest in Your Team

Meeting the needs of those who are serving

Stephen Blandino on February 27, 2020


Great leaders understand the importance of building high-capacity teams. They recognize the need to recruit the right people so the organization can reach its vision and fulfill its potential. But the best leaders regularly and strategically invest in team members. It’s a two-way street. The team serves the vision, and the leader serves the team.

At the end of the day, investing in the team has to be practical. You have to move past theory and textbook answers, choosing to make practical investments that make a real difference. In my experience, these seven investments are a great place to start:

1. Caring

Team members are not a cog in some organizational wheel. They are real people with real struggles. They have feelings, frustrations and failures. They experience pains and problems. One day they’re on top of the world, and the next day they’re hit with setbacks and uncertainties. The question is, do you care?

Caring shows up in two ways: when you ask, and when you act. In other words, ask your team members about their lives outside of work. Ask about their family, their struggles, their hopes and their dreams. Asking tells your team you notice and care. Then, after they answer, choose to act in a caring way.

When the son of one of our team members had a rare surgery out of state, I asked about his condition, and then I flew to that city and stayed with the family during the surgery. It was a simple investment to show I cared.

How can you ask and act today to show a team member you care?

2. Community

I tend to have my eye on the next goal. As a result, sometimes I forget to celebrate the good things the team has done. I’m learning the importance of building community with the team, taking time to strengthen relationships, and carving out space to have fun together.

These simple yet strategic investments will let your team know you care as much about relationships as you do results.

What community building activity do you need to schedule in the next 30 days to strengthen team relationships?

3. Communication

Team members don’t want to have to guess what their leader is thinking. They need regular communication to remove confusion and vagueness, and to clarify expectations.

One of the best ways to invest in your team is through a regular oversight meeting. Every team member should have a supervisor to whom they report, and that supervisor should schedule a weekly or biweekly oversight meeting with their direct reports.

During these meetings, celebrate wins, allow team members to discuss any issue that’s important to them, exchange updates on goals and priorities, and provide coaching as needed.

This is a practical and personalized way to invest in your team. Plus, these regularly scheduled meetings create a space to foster healthy communication and keep everyone on the same page.

Investments will always cost you something, but the cost isn’t always money.

What would it look like in your organization to establish regular oversight meetings?

4. Conferences

Your team members need intentional times to grow and learn together. Conferences are one way to make this happen. Plus, when the conference includes the entire team, it doubles as a community building activity.

At least twice annually, I take our team to a conference. It may be a ministry conference, leadership conference or marriage conference. Each training opportunity is an investment that unifies the team and expands ministry effectiveness.

What upcoming conference could you take your entire team to?

5. Coaching

As a leader, you need to offer your team members real-time coaching when you observe behaviors, attitudes, or practices that are hurting their health or performances.

Coaching is also valuable when you need to acclimate new staff members to your organization, or when you’re handing off greater levels of responsibility.

There will also be times when you need to hire a coach for a team member. This is especially helpful when they hit a lid in their ministry, or when they need to refine their skills to go to an entirely new level.

What would be the best way to ensure your team is getting the coaching it needs?

6. Capacity

One of the most meaningful ways to invest in your team members is to recognize and mobilize their capacity to lead at a higher level.

When a member of your team consistently delivers great performance, that person probably has the ability to do more than you’ve given him or her to do.

By entrusting team members with greater responsibilities, you’re making a strategic investment in their capacities. You’re stretching them, and you’re communicating how much you believe in them.

Who on your team is ready for greater responsibility?

7. Compensation

Another way to invest in your team is through compensation. I realize this is a touchy subject, especially considering the limited resources in ministry.

I would challenge you to consider three things. First, do some research. Purchase a compensation report to find out what are reasonable salaries for your team members. These reports often tell you what a person should make when doing a specific job in your city, and in your size church.

Second, do your best. You may not be able to offer the highest salaries or the greatest benefits, but you can still do your best with what you have. Do your best to be generous.

Third, look for ways to bless your team. For example, buy gift cards or take members to dinner when they’ve gone the extra mile. Send them (and their family members) birthday and anniversary cards. Consider giving a Christmas bonus, doing an overnight marriage retreat, and recognizing ministry milestones. These investments are worth the energy and the resources.

Investing in your team requires intentionality. Some of these ideas will be applied weekly, while others will happen every few months.

Investments will always cost you something, but the cost isn’t always money. It’s often time, wisdom, compassion and simply being aware of your team’s needs. No matter what your situation might look like, there are ways to add value to your team. Make the investment today.

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