Three Mentalities That Limit Team Building

Evan Doyle | July 05, 2018

For many pastors and leaders, the idea of building a great team is attractive! It sounds good and many of us know team building is something we should do.

The future of the work you are currently doing is dependent upon you taking responsibility to equip others.  

Is creating space and providing room for others to contribute important to you?

Leaders have vision they desire to move people towards.  

More than likely, your mission requires others to complete what you believe is possible. However, sometimes leaders are left wondering why it’s not happening faster and others don’t seem as excited as they are.

Here’s the thing, your team-building efforts are based upon what is taking place in your heart and mind.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Everything you do (or don’t do), including team building, starts with the beliefs you have.

There are mentalities that will maximize or limit your team building potential.  

Below are three common mentalities that will limit you from being an effective team builder.

1. A Good Leader Is Good At Everything.

This mentality will keep you frustrated, tired and insecure.

In 2003 I received my first paid position at a church as a youth pastor. I had no idea what I was doing (I’m still learning). The difference from today and back then is, I have an easier time admitting that I don’t know everything.

One area I always struggled in was preparing for summer camp. The games, planning the day, etc. It just was not my thing. My wife loves summer camps, even to this day. She could have done an amazing job leading camp in those areas. I could have (and should have) done what I was best at – while releasing her to do what she was better than me at doing.

The problem was I was too insecure. I thought I had to be good at everything. That thought did not help me, the youth group, or the church.

Good leaders are not good at everything! They, don't have to be.

When a leader focuses on what only they can do, it creates opportunity for others to do what only they can do.

The point is, be secure enough to release others to do what they are better at doing than you.

2. A Good Leader Demands Perfection.

For a long time, excellence has been a buzzword in church circles. The word finds its place in mission statements, core value lists, and training manuals.

Don’t get me wrong, excellence is important and to be strived for. However, for many leaders a demand for excellence gets in the way of delegating execution of responsibilities.

Rather than demanding perfection, focus on clarifying the goal. It can be easy to focus on how something gets done and to become fearful that it won’t be done the way you would do it. But if the goal is reached, does it really matter if it done a little differently than how you would have gone about it?

Stop limiting others by focusing on how something gets done and start emphasizing why it is important that it does get done!

A leader must give permission for people to try and to even make mistakes. It’s ok to suggest a path to success, but give freedom for others to discover what works best for them.

What if they come up with a better way of doing things? Often, this will be the case. If we’re sharing the right responsibilities with the right people they will normally have ideas on the best way to get the job done.

3. A Good Leader Makes All The Decisions.

Your team members need to be able to make decisions. This does not mean that your standards must change. It does mean that you have given your team freedom to make choices that are shaped by what you have expressed is important.

I once worked for a building supply company. The owner and vice president of sales constantly reminded the team that we were there to serve our customers. As employees, we would go out of our way to meet the needs of our customers. Even if we did not stock what they were looking for, we would find a way to get it so that we could serve them. Many times, we went above and beyond.

As an employee, we could operate in this way because we knew that we valued serving our customers and had freedom to make decisions about how to serve them best.

A few years ago, I stepped into a role where all of team members were used to asking for permission to make simple decisions. As the leader it was suffocating, but it wasn’t their fault. They had never been empowered to make decisions.

I decided to provide them with guidelines for make decisions. This has been very helpful to me. I hope it helps you too. Below is what I shared with them.

Criteria for making a leadership decision:

1. Does your response serve the person who has a need/question?

2. Is your solution in agreement with the organization’s values?

3. Do you have the resources and/or ability to fulfill your commitment?

If you feel that your response will agree with these criteria FEEL FREE to do what you think is best!

Most of the time your team is going to get it right. They’ll make the right decision. If they don’t, address it.  

If you don’t empower your team to make decisions it will more detrimental to you than the outcome of them making the wrong decision.

Being self-aware of the beliefs that drive you to build teams is a powerful asset. If you find yourself being limited by mentalities like these change thoughts and break through. Your work is too important to do alone.

Until you allow others to touch, feel and even influence how the vision is carried out they will never help carry the weight of it with you.

Evan Doyle is a campus pastor in Southeast Indiana. He also blogs at to help other leaders strengthen their ministry, avoid frustration and grow their church.

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