As far back as I can remember, I have either started a group or been part of the initial stages of a venture. I have learnt invaluable lessons that have informed my leadership philosophy. All of which you can read here and here.

Building teams is not an easy task for either a seasoned or emerging leader. Every group has its own dynamics and culture, not to mention individual personalities that form the group. For a group to move successfully through the 5 stages of formation, a leader must be intentional about how they lead their team.

building_teams_q3In my training sessions, the question on building teams comes up a lot, and I have been requested a number of times to assist worship teams that are starting out or have reached a difficult stage in their group life cycle. Today’s post will delve into four leadership styles as proposed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, that could enable your group to start well and finish strong.

  1. Directing

As the name suggests, the leader uses a leadership style that leans heavily towards giving instruction, supervising, teaching and monitoring. In this style, most decisions are made by the leader, giving no room for delegation.

When starting out in a worship team, it may be prudent to use this kind of leadership style. Individuals come into the team eager and with a high commitment to accomplish new tasks, but they may not have the skill set to follow through.

For example, your worship team may be experiencing a shortage of voice parts. Depending on individual vocal ranges, you could teach the altos to interchange between alto and soprano and vice versa. This will require your constant supervision during practice sessions to ensure that the singers are singing on the correct pitch.

  1. Coaching

Though final decisions ultimately lie with the leader in this style, the leader nevertheless engages their followers by explaining decisions, asking for group opinions concerning issues and affirming the followers.

It is critical for the leader to affirm followers here because commitment drops. The excitement that the follower felt initially at the start of the group may give way to discouragement due to disillusionment in job expectations.

In previous groups, I have noted that followers may leave the group altogether if they feel that the task at hand or information they are learning is too difficult for them to grasp. An example is when I was leading a group of musicians in training. Some dropped out of the class and when I followed up with them, they mentioned being overwhelmed due to the material. I learned the importance of oversimplifying concepts, over-explaining and allowing followers to give feedback, so as to allow all my students the opportunity to grasp the material.

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  1. Supporting

In this style, the leader listens to their followers, asks questions, affirms and enables their followers to become independent problem solvers. The leader here becomes a collaborator with the follower in accomplishing tasks.

The followers may feel a sense of incompetence despite the fact that they have acquired the skill set to complete tasks in the worship team. This self-doubt may lead to insecurity or apathy.

Using a biblical example, Jesus on numerous occasions gave his disciples opportunities to solve problems. In Luke 9:10-17 in particular, the disciples approach Jesus and ask him to send the crowds he had been preaching to away, to find food and lodging. However, Jesus responds by saying “You give them something to eat.” [Luke 9:13], giving them the opportunity to exercise all that he had taught them.

  1. Delegating

The leader here empowers the follower to act independently by challenging, delegating and affirming. The follower becomes exemplary and demonstrates a high level of commitment and competence. The follower is confident, autonomous and is an expert at what they are tasked to do.

One leader that I respect deeply has this to say about delegating: “The aim of leadership is to become irrelevant.” This means that a leader needs to actively replace himself by teaching his followers everything he knows about his role, freeing oneself to learn from those he is following.

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I would like to hear from you. How are you leading your team to become a winning team?