Leadership teams have the power to make or break a business. The outcomes of effective leadership are evident both in the workplace and in biblical examples:
- When leadership executes strategy, as in Joshua 1:1-9, the outcome is better tactical decisions.
- When leadership makes effective operational decisions, as in Nehemiah 2:5-18, the result is operational continuity.
- When leadership develops people, as in Numbers 27:18-23, the result is engaged employees.
An ineffective leadership team can, unfortunately, be just as powerful. Beyond poor tactical decision making, it can also impact the company’s culture, damaging morale and limiting talent acquisition, development, and retention. Strong leadership is, therefore, a critical component of a business’s success.
A healthy leadership team is one that understands the role of a leader and agrees ahead of time how its members will interact. We teach that there are two principles that support the development of a healthy leadership team: followership and covenantal behavior.
Principle 1: Followership – The Purpose of Leadership
The idea of followership comes from Russ Crosson’s book What Makes a Leader Great. Some of the key principles are:
- Leaders are placed in their roles by God, not based on their own abilities to achieve.
- Their life is about fulfilling the mission God has given owners and becoming living sacrifices for the organization.
- They do this by carrying and promoting the fire of the organizational mission. Specifically, leaders exhibit this by dying to their ego, by understanding that the mission is bigger than they are, and by building followers not fans.
(*Excerpts taken from What Makes a Leader Great by Russ Crosson)
Principle 2: Covenantal Behavior – Leadership Team Dynamics
In our work with businesses across the country, we have observed six behaviors that contribute to effective leadership teams.
- Leadership team members share collective aspirations for a desired future state. In order to build collective aspirations, teams must develop systemwide thinking and commit to acting interdependently.
- Leadership team members practice empathy while maintaining their bias for action. Teams that practice self-awareness, emotional maturity, and interpersonal skills are well positioned to build empathy.
- Leadership team members who build each other up and actively support one another create strong peer relationships. When team members practice accountability, faithfulness, trustworthiness, and integrity, they create bonds that allow them to work together effectively.
- Leadership team members who serve as healing agents are assertive in resolving conflict, practicing self-judgment and mutual submission, making peace, and building up one another. This positively impacts the team’s collective ability to overcome adversity and manage conflict.
- Leadership teams that engage in participatory decision making have no hidden agenda. Instead, ideas prevail. No compromise of principles or ethics is expected, and they agree to disagree. Teams that practice this engage in dialogue, communicating transparently, seeking alignment, and practicing generative thinking.
- Leadership teams that focus on success determine what they can control and then trust God with the results. When teams focus on success, they tend to operate efficiently and effectively.
Here are some questions to consider as you reflect on how this information applies to your business:
- How healthy is your leadership team? How are you intentionally working to create or maintain a healthy leadership team?
- Do your leaders have a proper perspective of their roles as leaders? How does their perspective impact the leadership team and the team they lead?
- Do your leaders exhibit covenantal behavior?
- Are these behaviors rewarded?
- Is the lack of these behaviors sanctioned?
Would you like personalized guidance as you think through creating a healthy leadership model for your business? Ronald Blue Trust’s Business Consulting division leverages biblical wisdom and practical expertise to advise business owners as they seek to faithfully steward the companies with which they have been entrusted. To learn more, visit our website.