Who’s on Your Team: Three Lessons from the Book of Nehemiah
I have historically been a reluctant leader but some how have always found myself in leadership positions. When I was an employee and the supervisor was out, everyone would look at me to lead the meeting. Although I led, I led with questions because I recognized the strengths of other therapists. Being able to lead a team to realize a vision is important for any leader. In my current role as the CEO of Therapeutic Solutions, I have recognized more recently how important a team is. The company has been ran with independent contractors but I still use a team of advisors, consultants, mentors and experts. Despite this utilization of teams, I had not thought formally about building teams until I recently re-read the book of Nehemiah. I think the lessons I learned can be applied to any entrepreneur regardless of religious background.
- Lesson One: Communicate the vision clearly to all who will be on the team. If you ask your team members or others involved in your business affairs about the business vision, mission and values, how would they respond? Is everyone on the same page or would you get ten different answers from ten different people. Nehemiah had a specific goal which was to rebuild a wall that had been destroyed. In spite of others not believing that the goal could be accomplished, it was actually completed in only 57 days. Everyone knew their assignments and worked towards one clear vision. If you have a vision statement that is not clear, now is a great time to rewrite and get everyone on the same page.
- Lesson Two: Nehemiah did not micromanage. In fact after he delegated and the wall was completed, he left. He had other business to take care of and he left people in charge to manage the associated affairs by the newly rebuilt wall. Nehemiah had to trust and let go! Have you ever been to a basketball game and the coach is literally walking onto the court trying to talk to players who are trying to concentrate on the game. These coaches are asked to get off the court and sometimes asked to leave the gym. There are designated times for coaching and times to let go and have the team take off with the directions provided. Failure to let go can stifle a team. If there are trust issues, consider getting some coaching to figure out where those issues are coming from and what steps one might need to take to address.
- Lesson Three: Nehemiah was not afraid to remove team members. After being a way for a while, Nehemiah comes back and finds out that some of the people he put in charge were out of order–that is, they were not doing business in the way that they were supposed to. Without hesitation, those team members had to hit the door–Bye Felicia! Nehemiah then appoints two new leaders based on certain characteristics that he realizes must be in place. So, Nehemiah previously put people in place and trusted them but when valid reason was demonstrated to no longer trust those persons, he acknowledged that he had the wrong people in the wrong positions and removed and replaced them. As I stated in one of my recent FB videos, it is ok to let go of team members because the vision is much bigger than one person. I personally had coaching around letting go of someone who was no longer a good fit for some work she and I were doing together. Letting go does not mean you are mad or can no longer ever associate with that person, it simply means they are not a good fit for the team. What key characteristics are non-negotiable for your team members?
If you are interested in learning more about team building, read the book of Nehemiah for yourself–it is packed with pearls of wisdom. Also, here is a link to a Forbes article about team building. Last but not least, enjoy one of your closest teams, your family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday! We were never made to do this life or business alone. As they say, teamwork, makes the dream work! Speaking of dreams, if your dream is to increase your work in independent contracting, check out great course deals under the Course’s link on this site on Black Friday. One day only! And remember your team matters!
Tomeico Faison is a business consultant and coach dedicated to the success of current and aspiring health and human service entrepreneurs!