Stretch people to help them reach their potential

To accomplish great things you need a great team. Working alone limits what we can accomplish. Working with a great team increases our accomplishments. Of course, the challenge here is to have a great team. Great teams seldom occur by accident. They are developed by great leaders who see the value in developing those individuals who will come together as a team. Many things go into team development, but perhaps one of the most important is to stretch the team members to help them reach their potential. How does one do that?

Mark Sanborn has said, “Great leaders help people have a larger vision of themselves.” Ask most people to identify their weaknesses and faults, and they can usually provide you with a page full. Ask them to identify their strengths and areas of giftedness and many of them will struggle to name more than two or three. So many of us have a small vision of who we are and what we can do. Great leaders will help their team members begin to see a larger vision of who they are and what they can do.

Weak leaders will not do that. I’ve seen leaders who constantly criticize their team members, destroying morale and whatever motivation those team members may have had. I’ve had team members tell me they saw no sense in trying to do anything because whatever they did would be criticized and have to be redone. There was no need for them to try to be creative or do anything new or different. When this happens a team no longer exists. People are merely putting in their hours for a paycheck.

But, when a leader begins to paint a larger vision for the team great things can happen! When I became pastor of a small country church it had a succession of pastors for many years. In fact, the average pastoral tenure for many years was 12 months, and that was the average! Needless to say, not much had happened in that church with such pastoral turnover. One of the things I did was to encourage the church to do new things. Without going into detail it was challenging at first, but the church began to respond and slowly began doing some things they should have done years before.

I frequently complimented them on what they were doing. Often, I would remind them from the pulpit that I had more confidence in them than some of them did in themselves. In time, more of them began to feel that confidence as well, and we were able to accomplish even greater things. I kept trying to stretch them into believing they could do even more. By the time I left, after 20 years of serving that church, we were doing far more than might be expected of a church our size, and it was all due to the people coming together as a team and believing they were capable of doing those things.

If you want to accomplish more you need to gather a team around you and stretch the vision they have of themselves. Invest yourself in developing that team until it becomes a great team. You will be surprised what will be accomplished!

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