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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

16 Jul '13

Who gets the praise?

Posted by T.J. Addington in credit, praise
To be a good leader one must intentionally take on a servant role and prioritize the health and results of the team, not the status or power of the leader. Commitment to team means that we no longer take credit but give credit away for accomplishments to those on the team. We intentionally platform and hold up team members, allowing our influence to flow through them so they have the moral authority to do what they must do in the organization.

One of the tests of leadership is whether a leader needs the spotlight, adulation, praise or credit for the results of the team's work. Great leaders point all of this toward the team because it was the team that accomplished the work. Insecure or narcissist leaders require that they be the center, essentially stealing credit from those who were actually responsible. And don't be fooled, people notice, especially the team who made it happen.

Power, status, spotlight and praise are a deadly aphrodisiac for unhealthy leaders who think it is all about them. They are often charismatic and visionary but they are seldom able to build a strong, unified, results- oriented team because ultimately, it is always about them. Eventually they implode, causing pain for those around them. Unfortunately too many of these addicts find their way into ministry: stay away from them. When it comes apart it is ugly.

Every organization has levels and lines of authority. In healthy teams, however, there is an egalitarian ethos where the leader is a coach and a cheerleader for the team - and all sit at the table as peers with the ability to make an equal contribution. After all, this is NOT about the leader. It is about team that, when working together, can see results that are a quantum leap from what any one individual could produce. Leaders who dominate meetings don't get it and send the message that the team is about 'me' not 'us.'

The job of the team leader is to ensure the success of others, to empower them to do what they can do better than them, to be their coach and cheerleader, and to allow them to see the fruits of their work. When praise comes to the leader, it is wisdom to hold up others because they are responsible for the vast majority of good things that happen. Status and power are not important to good leaders: influence and results are. Good leaders give others praise for successes and take personal responsibilty for failures.