HOW TO SURROUND YOURSELF WIITH THE RIGHT SUPPORT TEAM
How do we surround ourselves with the right support team?
As leaders, all of us need a support team. We need people who surround us, support us, pray for us, counsel us, guide us, and hold up our arms when we’re feeling weak.
We need people on our side, through the challenging tasks of ministry, who we can deeply trust – people who are loyal to us and have our back, but who are also brutally honest with us and will call us into Christ-likeness.
1. Identify your needs.
2. Ask questions.
IDEA 1 – IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS
Identify your unique needs.
First, many leaders never actually identify the kinds of people they will uniquely need to support them in their weak areas of leadership.
There may be areas of your life that you feel you are fairly strong in as a leader, where you don’t need someone to provide a balancing or supportive role.
But there are areas in all of our lives where we have a need for extra support.
Name those areas of your own leadership weakness, and look to put leaders on your team who bring balance and strength to your collaborative work.
If you’re strong on administration and somewhat weak on relationships, give some freedom to a more relationally motivated leader to engage with your teams.
If you’re strong on relationships, and weak on administration, then bring someone alongside you who finds themselves energized by completing a checklist and organizing schedules.
What kind of people do you need?
The Father/Mother. These are people who are older and more experienced than we are.
They bring counsel, insight, and a much broader picture that comes from having years of life under their belt. These men and women, as well as other members of your support team, are your intercessors – people who are always praying for you and are there to provide wise counsel.
The Calm Peer. Maybe you’re a very passionate or expressive leader, and you need a calm voice to stabilize you when things get rough.
A calm peer empathizes with what you’re going through, but proves himself/herself to be an unwavering voice of reason.
The Court Jester. You may need someone in your life who doesn’t primarily “care” about your leadership role – they just bring you joy.
They enjoy being with you and you enjoy being with them. They may not even have a vested interest in how well you perform in your leadership role – they’re a good friend who will be there through thick or thin.
It will help you as a leader to have this ‘vent’ in your life.
What kind of people do you need?
The Thorn. It’s helpful to have people around who disagree with you. What we don’t want, however, are people who disagree and then are not loyal – this is what causes division over an extended period of time.
If the Thorn can disagree and at the same time receive counsel from you – if they are teachable and can be directed or guided – then this Thorn is needed in your support group.
Every now and then, this person may keep you from making a stupid decision you would have otherwise made without someone giving you pause.
The Keep-You-On-Your-Toes Friend. Find people that keep you guessing. These people are a little bit outside of your natural parameters as to who you’d hang out with, but they are gifts all the same.
These people simply aren’t seeing the world through the same lens that you are. The fuzzy edge of our support group often brings renewal to our leadership.
IDEA 2 – ASK QUESTIONS
Before you can choose who will be part of your support team, you need to ask some important questions. Start with these core ideas.
Are they mature? Are they seasoned in their faith? Have they “come from somewhere” and grown in their relationship with God, learning to say “Yes” to trusting Him when they were riddled with doubt? Look for humility in the eyes of your support team, because this means that the person has learned to be God-reliant rather than self-reliant.
Do they have a track record? What is their track record? Have they supported or connected with other leaders well? Do they have problems with authority figures, or do they actually appreciate guidance and bring a healthy strength and balance to those with authority in their lives?
Can they take counsel? Are they soft, and teachable? Do you see them actually respond to your influence? We know that we are someone’s spiritual leader or pastor the first time we say no to them, or tell them that we don’t think they should do something that they passionately want to do.
Their response to this will really help you to know if you are their spiritual leader.
Will they be loyal and honest, at the same time? Are they with you for the long haul? Is their heart in this, and will they be honest when you really need them to be? Will they say in key moments, “You know what? I don’t agree with you, but that doesn’t matter. You go for it, and I’ll be behind you 100%.”
Try one idea the next time you choose a support team.
Surround yourself with people who seek God with their whole heart. Sometimes we may choose not to unwrap someone’s gift of support to us because of the way they present that gift to us!
But, when someone presents their gift with humility, with honesty and goodness in their heart, hold on to those people.
These people give you a sense that they are cheering you and your community on with everything they’ve got, and they are the ones you want around you.
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