Leading Teams with Care - Lesson 9

Understanding Team Dimensions

Explore various team dimensions through practical examples. Sybil is identified as an executor needing clear directions. Mario's role is debated between advancer and refiner. Jack is a creator who struggles with execution. Renee's actions suggest both executor and refiner roles. Luis, Karen, and Roxanne's session highlights the need for balancing idea generation with decision-making. 

Rick Sessoms
Leading Teams with Care
Lesson 9
Watching Now
Understanding Team Dimensions

Lesson: Christ-Centered Leadership

I. Leading Teams with Care

A. Introduction

B. The Importance of Care in Leadership

C. Biblical Examples of Care in Leadership

II. Caring for Your Team Members

A. Knowing Your Team Members

B. Empowering Your Team Members

C. Resourcing Your Team Members

III. Communicating with Your Team

A. Creating a Safe Environment for Communication

B. Active Listening

C. Communicating Effectively

IV. Leading Your Team with Care

A. Setting Clear Expectations

B. Accountability and Feedback

C. Celebrating Success and Encouraging Growth

V. Conclusion

A. Review of Key Points

B. Application to Your Leadership Role

  • 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.

You will need access to the C.A.R.E. for this class. You can contact Freedom to Lead by clicking here to send them your first and last name and email address. A representative from Freedom To Lead will contact you about inviting you to the study group page and providing you with the C.A.R.E. profile.

Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading Teams with Care
Understanding Team Dimensions
Lesson Transcript 


Tim, would you read that example, number one? 

STUDENT: Sure. Sybil left the conference room and pulled Ben aside. “I'm a little fuzzy about what exactly I'm supposed to do on this project.” “I thought it was clear in the meeting, Sybil.” “No, it wasn't. I don't know if I'm supposed to go ahead with it or if it will be changed again. I need more specific information before I can move forward with it.” 

So, what team dimension is Sybil? Okay, executor. Does anybody have other ideas? Do you agree with that? Yes? No? How many vote executor? Okay. Pretty good around. Why would you say executor? What are the clues? 

STUDENT: She's an implementer, but it's difficult to implement if you don't have a clear direction on what you’re supposed to implement. 


STUDENT: Or if it'll be changed again. 

STUDENT: Like an accountant. 

Yep. Okay. Let's go to example two. Robin, would you read that one for us, please? 

STUDENT: Jane grumbled, “I don’t understand why you keep changing it. We just changed it last month.” “Because the culture is changing, and we have to modify it to meet the needs of people,” replied Mario, “If we don't update our methods, people won't hear our message. We need to continually make enhancements and develop new strategies to make our efforts relevant.” “But all these changes are hurting our ministry, and I don't think our people will put up with them anymore.” 

So, what CARE pattern is Mario? Would you say advancer? Other thoughts? 

STUDENT: I thought he was a refiner because he was trying to refine their methods. 

Okay, so you're thinking he's trying to change the methods, so that's a refining role, right? Is that what you mean? Okay, that's fine. I mean, there's no perfect answer on this stuff. It's more important that you understand why you're answering it the way you are than having the correct answer. Why would you say advancer? 

STUDENT: Because he's taking a new idea that has already been communicated, and he's explaining in plain language to Jane why they're pursuing it. 

All right. Is there anybody that would say he's a creator? Why? 


STUDENT: He was creating ideas. 

Okay, creating new ideas. Okay. 

STUDENT: Enjoying that process? 

Yeah. So, sometimes it's not incredibly clear, but the key question is why? Why you think that, because we need to get clear on what these dimensions are. Okay, number three. Tammy, would you read that one for us, please? 

STUDENT: Jack always considers himself to be at the forefront of change. He loved to start things but would say, “I’m gonna need someone else to finish them off.” If there were problems with what he started, he would start again in a new way. This caused him problems with others who expected him to finish what he started. 

Okay. Everybody want to agree on that one? That's pretty easy, isn't it? Why is it creator? 

STUDENT: He keeps starting things but has a problem executing his ideas. 

Okay. So, would you see that as pretty typical sometimes of creators? Somebody said something like “I like to start things but sometimes I have a hard time, or creators have a hard time, getting it going, getting it off the ground. Okay, how about example number four? Tim, read that one for us, if you would. 

STUDENT: Renee was getting impatient. Every time Jim finished his thought, she had thought of a previous ministry program that was similar and had already thought about an action plan. But this was his fifth idea and her fifth execution plan. “Pick one that we know will be successful,” Renee said, “and let's get on with it.” “But I'm not sure it's right yet,” said Jim. Renee fumed. 

So what CARE pattern is Renee? 

STUDENT: Executor?

Okay, why do you say that? 

STUDENT: She just wants to do it, carry it out, but they're not handing her a blueprint.

All right, do you agree with that? 

STUDENT: I thought maybe refiner because she is coming up with plans and analyzing the different ideas. 

Okay. Roger, read number five for us, if you would. 

STUDENT: Luis, Karen and Roxanne had been meeting for over an hour. They had been brainstorming, and nothing was decided. Every time Luis came up with an idea, Karen would begin to go over it in such detail that Luis would grow impatient and come up with another better idea. Finally, Roxanne spoke up. “You know, Karen, maybe we should just focus on generating ideas now and then meet again next week. Then we can lay out all the ideas on the table and discuss the pros and cons at that time. What do you think?” 

What do you think? Flexer? Somebody said flexer. Why? 

STUDENT: Because it's the only one we haven't talked about [laughter]. 

STUDENT: She's an intermediate. She's a peacemaker. She's trying to be loyal. 

STUDENT: She sees what needs to be taking place, and she realizes that his ideas are being squelched -- 

Right. We're stuck. Okay. So these are rather simple examples, but it starts to get us thinking about what these might look like as we go along. But the reality is that we need each other. We need each other badly. The difficulty sometimes -- and my daughter actually provided this picture for me, and it's a beautiful picture -- we need a balance within our teams. It's really critical. And again, it's more important for leaders and leadership to ensure that balance than it is to emphasize even our own dimension on the team. So the purpose of this leadership leading teams exercise was to acquaint you with this tool, but more importantly, to help you understand what these dimensions are all about and that all the dimensions are needed in order for the team to do its work effectively. So please keep that in mind. 

Let's take a team snapshot. Let me read this for us. I don't know whether you see it very good, but: Al and Leslie met on Tuesday morning to discuss their director's idea for a new broadcast program. The director had stressed to them how this new concept could set the beginning of a new direction for the station. The director asked David and Lesley for a working model by the end of the week. As David met with Leslie, he had an uneasy feeling, but Al was very clear on how he thought the new concept should look and had several good ideas. So, Leslie went along with the ideas. After the meeting, though, Leslie was having second thoughts. She was concerned that the new approach was too radical. There were too many things that could go wrong. They didn't have the details ironed out enough to move forward yet, so Leslie decided to call Al and suggested they scrap the program. 

What's going on here? 

STUDENT: Well, it’s not clear where the leadership is on this team. 


STUDENT: Leslie seems to be in the role of refiner. 

All right.

STUDENT: She also doesn't seem to be empowered to do her part, but she didn't share it when it would have been sort of -- at the discussion; after the decisions had already been made, then felt the need to refine.

STUDENT: I think they need somebody that's more an executor that can take these ideas and show them how it could become a reality. 

STUDENT: Right now, they're stuck. They're not working well as a team. There was one conversation, three of them ____[9:36] two different people talking with another person; there’s sort of a chain there, and Leslie went back to Al after meeting with David. 

STUDENT: Maybe the director didn't spell it out well enough. 

STUDENT: So, is Al a middle manager? Is the director above Al, and Al is the middle manager, and Leslie and David are the subordinates to Al? That's kind of what it feels like to me in looking at that scenario, in terms of position. Is that what's going on? 

Looks like it. 

STUDENT: Is Al on the team or not a part of it? 

You tell me. Are these players functioning as a team? I guess that's the first question. 

STUDENT: They don't seem to have open communication between everyone on the team because it says David had an uneasy feeling, but it doesn't say that he ever expressed it, and then Leslie had second thoughts, but instead of talking about it with everyone, she just decides to call Al and scrap the whole thing. 

Do you see team dimensions surfacing here? Natural team dimensions?

STUDENT: I think there's two refiners and one creator, and they just lack the advancer to clearly communicate and inspire and get everyone on board. 

STUDENT: It seems like the director may be promoting some ideas, and Al is is communicating a direction or trying to champion a cause -- at least that's how it appears to me -- but that the details aren't ironed out enough, and so Al’s typical strength of advancing an idea is actually hurting the team because it's not exactly clear how the process will move forward. 

So what should they do? I mean, that's a little tougher question, but what should they do? 

STUDENT: They shouldn't just give up; they should try to communicate to come up with a solution, maybe come up with other ideas that maybe seem more realistic and viable. 

STUDENT: They need to have a cup of coffee together. 

That's a start, isn't it? So maybe they all need to get in a room and say, what is the idea? And again, rather than thinking about who is in what specific role, what we're doing at this point is we're transitioning to ask the question, as we think about the need for an excellent team, for teams to function effectively, all four of these dimensions are needed. So, is there a creator function here? Is there an advancer function here? Is there a refiner function? Is there an executor function? If there's not, then the leader needs to back up and say, how can we make those happen within this team context? That's the key point. Without that, it tends to break down. All four of those are needed. So if Al is the leader, then he needs to ensure that those four elements, those four dimensions, are being represented on that team. 

So if there is not an advancer, for example, what is leadership's role at that point, given what we're talking about? 

STUDENT: To step up and serve in the advancer role. 

Okay, or? 

STUDENT: Identify an advancer --.

Exactly. So there's two options. If the advancer function is not being carried out, then there's two options: Outsource it; find someone to come in to be the advancer in the process, or fulfill that role oneself as the leader. That's the critical thing to understand in these processes. So practically speaking, what needs to happen here? It seems to me that they're not even sure what the idea is. Right. And so, the leader needs to make sure that that idea is interpreted, and if the leader does not have the ability, the leader needs to pull in somebody who can provide that interpreting role and championing role, and that's the critical missing piece. And of course, there's no executor, but probably that's a premature step at this point because they're going to need to get the creating and the advancing and refining done before they can move to the executor role. Does that make sense, what we're talking about here? 

So, what I'm nudging you to do now is to move out of thinking about specific slots and think about the big picture of the critical necessity of this balance that's needed within each team, that every good, innovative team requires these four dimensions. That's the point. If a team doesn't have those dimensions represented, it’s the leadership's role to ensure that that happens. And we'll get more into the process, but that's a critical thing for leadership. Questions? Thoughts? 

I have found myself often functioning as the flexer, because again, even though I'm a creator/refiner, the flexer role is important in a leadership capacity simply because it is the one that ensures that all the dimensions are represented in the process, okay? That's the leadership function in this. 

So, in effect, you're going through the team dimension was a teaser in effect, in many ways. It helped you get acquainted with the tool from your own perspective. But remember, we talked about the fact that in the roles it is important to know your own and to know everyone else's, and then to take one further step as a leader to ensure that it's all happening.

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