I love following the Liverpool Football Club (American soccer) as they progress through the season. As I’m writing this, they are in the running to win four major competitions. One of the main reasons for this achievement is the coach, Jurgen Klopp. He surrounds himself with excellent people who are experts in the essentials of team recruitment, development, and strategy to compete at the highest levels in world football.

Developing healthy, world class ministry teams and team members carry some of the same qualities as a world class football team.

What makes a healthy team? 

A few blogs ago I wrote on this topic. To summarize, this is what it takes to build a healthy team culture:

  1. Clear expectations
  2. Regular communication
  3. Compelling rewards
  4. Real consequences
  5. High Trust

What makes healthy team members?

Continuing with the Liverpool FC analogy, I want to address the characteristics of a healthy team member. Below is a summary of each characteristic and how it applies to a sporting franchise, followed by a key question for your reflection. Hang on tight–here are five traits of a healthy team member.

  1. Passion for the vision: the objective for Liverpool is clear–win every game and every competition they play.
    • How does each member describe the vision of your team?
  2. Shared values: Jurgen Klopp is a Christian and requires a certain quality of player on his team. Though all the members of his team may not be Christian, many of the attributes he looks for in players parallel those of a Christian (e.g. respect, honesty, integrity, humility, industrious, etc.).
    • What values do you look for in your team members?
  3. Ability: Liverpool players have world-class skills and technique to compete at the highest levels.
    • What skills do your team members need? 
    • What skills do your team members possess?  
    • What areas must be developed? 
  4. Emotional Intelligence: Liverpool demand that players be self-aware both on and off the field or they simply do not remain in the club for long.
    • Where do your team members need to grow in their EQ?
  5. Disciple of Christ: As a disciple of Christ I am not suggesting perfection. What I want to communicate is progress in the direction a person is moving in their spiritual walk.
    • Are your team members moving towards Christ or away from Him? 

A helpful tool to develop EQ is the Emotional Intelligence Skill Builder Booklet.

How do you find healthy individuals? 

Like attracts like. Klopp has this ability. He attracts a certain player that fits the DNA of the club. It is fantastic to see the players they bring from other clubs and which ones turn out to be world-class stars at Liverpool. The team culture Klopp has established assimilates players who share the same values of the manager and club.

How do you invest in and equip members of your team?

Personal development: Encourage regular sabbath and rest. Spiritual practices and work-life-ministry balance are all critical gauges to pay attention to as you create healthy team members.

Skill development: There exists a number of skill-based tools and resources that I go to when I work with leaders, depending on the need. The one I use when a leader needs an in-depth assessment is called the Harrison (CLICK HERE to read more from a previous blog). The tool is based on Enjoyment Performance Theory and suggests that:

… when we enjoy a task – we tend to do it more often. When we do something over and over, we have a tendency to get better at it through both learning and repetition. When a person gets better at something, the feedback he or she receives – both from others and internally – is normally positive. And positive feedback increases the enjoyment of the behavior. The cycle keeps repeating itself – increasing the strength of enjoyment and tendency for the behavior – and often results in behavior habits that we don’t realize are behavior choices.*

If you are interested in learning more about the Harrison Assessment – CLICK HERE.

There are also a host of other tools that exist to help develop leaders that I’ve used over the years including:

Let’s return to the example of Liverpool FC. As the club continues to roll through the later stages of the league and tournaments, the team is being called on to perform under intense pressure with every game.

Today, people in your team are facing pressures from all directions. As an attentive team leader your job is to anticipate the best way you can support and encourage your members, paying close attention to those areas that will have the largest impact in their lives and ministries.


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