Leading Teams with Care - Lesson 6

Five Essential Factors: Roles

Understand the importance of each team member knowing their own role and others' roles. Dr. Sessoms emphasizes that effective teamwork requires clear role definitions and mutual awareness, using personal anecdotes and practical examples to illustrate how lack of clarity leads to conflicts. Common causes of team tension, like different goals and lack of communication, are discussed, highlighting the need for leaders to ensure everyone understands their roles, preventing misunderstandings and fostering collaboration.

Rick Sessoms
Leading Teams with Care
Lesson 6
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Five Essential Factors: Roles

Lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership: Leading Teams with Care

I. Leading with Care

A. Importance of caring for team members

B. Creating a culture of caring

II. How to Care for Team Members

A. Knowing your team members

B. Communicating effectively

C. Providing support and resources

D. Developing trust

E. Promoting self-care

III. Challenges in Leading with Care

A. Time constraints

B. Balancing caring and accountability

C. Dealing with team members who resist care

IV. Benefits of Leading with Care

A. Increased team member engagement and productivity

B. Higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover

C. Improved team communication and collaboration

V. Conclusion

A. Recap of key points

B. Encouragement to implement caring leadership

  • Learn to lead Christ-centered teams by understanding unity and diversity in team roles, drawing from the Trinity, and fostering growth and love, with insights from Genesis and Ephesians, while reflecting on and assessing team effectiveness.
  • Learn about the importance of caring for your team, trusting God with your team's vision, people, and resources, and cultivating Christ-Centered teams.
  • Explore the complexities of team dynamics, discussing the combination of diverse skills to achieve common goals, the challenges of being assigned to teams, the distinction between leadership and leaders, the concept of shared leadership, and the importance of relationships within teams.
  • Learn that a team is a small, skill-diverse group committed to common goals and mutual accountability. Teams require clear roles and contributions, aren't always the best solution, and are intentionally planned and maintained, unlike naturally forming groups.
  • This lesson emphasizes the need for a clear, common, and compelling purpose in a team, ensuring that every member understands, owns, and is motivated by this purpose to achieve effective teamwork.
  • Learn how to care for team members and create a culture of caring as a Christ-centered leader, and discover the benefits of doing so, including increased team member engagement and productivity, higher job satisfaction, and improved communication and collaboration.
  • Learn about team roles using the Team Dimensions Profile tool, focusing on the Creator, Advancer, Refiner, Executor, and Flexor roles, their characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, and the importance of balancing these roles for effective teamwork.
  • By completing this lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership, you will gain insight into team building, leading with care, creating a culture of care, and balancing results and care.
  • Learn how to lead your team with care by understanding the importance of caring for your team members, effective communication, and setting clear expectations.
  • In this lesson, you will learn how to lead with care by understanding the importance of caring for your team, the qualities of a caring leader, and practical strategies for creating a safe environment, building relationships, providing support, and offering encouragement and recognition.
  • In this lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership, you will learn the importance of leading teams with care, how to practice it practically, the role of emotions in leadership, and effective communication methods.
  • Learn how to lead and develop a caring team, overcome obstacles to team sustainability, and gain insights into the characteristics of a leader who cares and a caring team.
  • This lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership will teach you how to lead teams with care, lead through change, and lead with humility.
  • Learn how to be a Christ-centered leader who cares for your team by understanding the biblical foundations, creating a culture of care, leading through change, and sustaining care for yourself and your team.
  • This lesson on Christ-Centered Leadership provides knowledge and insight into creating a safe and secure environment, promoting individual growth and development, building a cohesive team, developing a culture of care, and practical tips for leading teams with care.

Teamwork is the will of God for the people of God.

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Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading Teams with Care
Five Essential Factors Roles
Lesson Transcript 


Well, let's press on, then, and talk about roles, and I'll just introduce this and then we'll take a break. 

Team roles. When we talk about team rolls, “every member understands his or her role -- and the next statement is very important -- and the roles of all other members in the larger plan of how the team designs and executes its work.” When we talk about roles, then, it's about understanding yourself and what your contribution on the team is. It also suggests that good teams understand one another thoroughly, the roles of everyone on the team. 

I played a little bit of basketball in a small college. I wasn't much good. I worked hard at it, but was not, well, the truth is I was too small to be a forward and too slow to be a guard, and so I ended up playing where, you know, they called me the trash man; I would pick up loose balls and dive on the floor and all that good stuff, but that was my role. But anyway, what I did learn, a lot of my lessons about teamwork are through the game of basketball, and what I learned on the court is it's not just important to understand what my role is, but it's critically important to understand what everyone on the team's role is. Without that, we can get very confused, and so that's a very, very critical component of good teamwork. 

Unfortunately, in so many contexts, we often feel like these poor guys, sweating it out, working as hard as we can. We kind of understand ourselves, but we aren't even aware of the guy behind us pedaling just as hard in the opposite direction, and we wonder why we're not getting anywhere. Have you ever experienced anything like that on a team? I think we all have at times. 

So this is a very real sort of thing. Although the team may want to move forward and have every intention of moving forward, I can guarantee you those guys -- by the way, one of them looks kind of like George Bush; I don't know why that is, George Bush senior -- but what we spend so much, often, of our creative energy working out solutions to problems that are internal to the team itself, and that is something oftentimes as I've worked with churches, we talk about the lost and we talk about the people that we need to reach outside the church, but we spend most of our energy on the internal dynamics of the team before we can ever move to doing what it is that we are called to do together. 

So I’d like us to just talk for a few moments. What are the reasons for tensions on teams? What are some of the most likely causes for conflict on the teams that you've worked on in the past? And I'd like to just kind of jot some of those down. What would those be? 

STUDENT: Different goals. 

Different goals. All right, what else? 

STUDENT: The perception that someone's not pulling their weight. 


STUDENT: This may be related to different goals, but lack of a common understanding of why you were called to the team. You have different perspectives of what you are supposed to be doing. I guess that's the same as different goals. 

STUDENT: In my observation, the big ones are often relational issues.

I’ll just put relational stress; is that all right? 

STUDENT: Lack of communication or unclear communications. 

STUDENT: A lack of structure or also, related to that, a lack of understanding of each other's roles. 

STUDENT: Lack of leadership, which might be the same. 

STUDENT: And the individual good supersedes group good or the common good.  

STUDENT: Lack of grace for each other.  

Lack of grace. 

STUDENT: When winning becomes more important than the process of getting there. So winning is more important than relationship. 

So when you use the word winning, not every team is about winning, per se. So what do you mean by winning? 

STUDENT: I think where the goal supersedes the relationship. 

Okay, so you say the goal is more important than the relationships. 

STUDENT: Maybe you just want your idea to be chosen, so you want to win in that way. 

Okay, so individual agenda.  

STUDENT: I think there's a flip side also, and I think Jim was saying, too, when the relationships are more important than the goal. So you want to make everyone feel so good that you never accomplish anything.

So ‘or vice versa.’ 


Other thoughts? 

STUDENT: What you have up there on relational issues, does that also incorporate personality? 

Well, that's exactly what I was going to ask. I was surprised that personality differences is not on the list. 

STUDENT: Is that what you thinking, Roger? 

STUDENT: That could be part of it. That's one of the root causes; relational stress is more the symptom.

STUDENT: HALT, which is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired; when the environment starts to beat the group down; they’re all conditions in the conflict. 

STUDENT: I’m just being a little bit picky because I think personality differences can be a strength, but personality clashes to be… 

Okay. The only reason I wrote down personality differences is because oftentimes you hear people say, “Well, we just have a difference in personality’” kind of thing, and it's obvious that it's more than that, but that's kind of a presenting problem at times. 

Okay, too alike. We won't go there. Are you thinking of anybody in particular in the room or is it just… [laughter]

So, these are all tensions for sure. One of the things that comes up so often is I just don't know what my team members are supposed to do, and I don't know what I'm supposed to do, or we're just not getting it done, and it's one of those things that really causes teams to -- we kind of know the big picture, but what am I supposed to do, and how are we supposed to get this accomplished together?

 So, when we talk about roles, there are two aspects of roles that we 

want to look at. One is what we could refer to as about function, team function. Another word for this is just simply job description. What is your role description on the team? Last week, a very good church in Raleigh-Durham area here disbanded because the two pastors -- they were co-pastors -- they’re both great guys, but they failed to clearly distinguish their functions, and so over a period of about 18 months, the whole thing just, frankly, fell apart because as well-intentioned as they were, they kind of understood the goal, they understood the purpose, but they did not understand their respective functions, their job descriptions, if you were, their ministry descriptions within that context. So it's quite important in a team to be clear about who has what function and to be crystal clear about that, and again, not only to understand what your function is, but to understand clearly what everyone's function is, a very, very important distinction. 

So as you think about this, what is your team function? Are you clear on that, the team that you're on right now? Are you crystal clear on what your team function is? Yes? No? I don’t hear any responses. 

STUDENT: I think it changes.

And that's fine, but are you clear now on what your team role is? 


STUDENT: By “your,” you mean the individual? 

The individual? Yeah. 

STUDENT: Of the teams that I ranked last week, the higher the ranking, the more clear my understanding of my role was. 


STUDENT: Can I add one thing to that list?


STUDENT: Lack of motivation. 


STUDENT: Will we blame it on the leader again?  

STUDENT: Well, I mean, maybe you just want to be compensated for your work, whether it's, you know, you get pride out of doing whatever work you’re doing, or you feel good when you volunteer and do something, or maybe you’re a big CEO of a company and you want to be paid well for it. 

So, there's something that’s less compelling about the situation is the issue, right? 

So, again, are you clear on what your description is, what your role is currently on the team you're on? Are you clear? 

So, then the second question, “Are you clear on the function of every other team member?” Yes? No? No. That's where it kind of is tough, isn’t it? 

So, because I'm talking to leaders here, and because this is about leading teams, I want to suggest to you that this is a very important step to guide your team and to understanding not just what their roles are, but to understand what everyone else's role is as well. Very important step. Yes. 

STUDENT: Now, it's an interesting comment that often -- and I think this is the case in a lot of teams -- the higher your position, the more clear you are on your role, and I think that also plays into how clear you are on the roles of the team members, hopefully; if the leader does not have a clear picture of the functions of the other team members, how can those other team members have an understanding of their function? 

Very difficult.

STUDENT: I can imagine that there can be conflict when a person will say, I'm not really sure what my role is, but I know what everyone else should be doing. 

STUDENT: And I think you can be clear on what your role is, but not be affirmed in that. In other words, you could have accepted a role that you felt was dismissed and/or denigrated, and so this person up here, who’s got a very elevated, in my opinion, elevated role, and mine is just kind of a street sweeper and I don't feel it’s really valued.

Not appreciated. Well, we're going to get into that because that's an important point. My mind just keeps drifting back to your example of the Trinity. Would you say that they understood their own roles within the Trinity, and did they understand each other's roles within the Trinity? It's a beautiful picture. That's what created that capacity to be that kind of a team, if you will, to use that language. 

So, these seem like probably simple steps when we've talked about the clear, common and compelling purpose and now the roles about the function, knowing your own and knowing everyone else's, but I just want to suggest to you, these kinds of things are what tend to trip up teams. They're what cause them to go sideways, at least the ones that I have consistently worked with over the years.

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