Who Is Your First Team?

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If you aren’t the CEO or Senior Pastor or Executive Director – but you are in leadership – then chances are you have two teams.

1 – you have the team you lead.

2 – you have the team above you (this might just be you and your boss, or it might be an executive or senior team that includes other peer team leaders.

Sometimes we get confused about who our “first team” should be.

If your first team is the team you lead—you risk creating a silo department. You likely win favor with your team members, as they know you have their backs and identify with their frustrations, but you also contribute to a toxic environment where departments are working separately instead of all focused on the vision of the organization. You miss an opportunity to help your team find ways they can make the organization more effective or profitable.

If, instead, your first team is the one above you (you and your boss, or you and an executive leadership team)—you help contribute toward a healthy and high-functioning organization. You build unity and have an opportunity to lead your team to find ways to further the mission. It requires humility and laying your ego down as you may need to portray a unified front on decisions or directions you don’t love.

When the organization is in a season of health, you rarely have to consciously decide where your loyalty lies. But when the organization is unhealthy or in a season of dysfunction—you may have to decide multiple times a day: Where is my loyalty? Who is my first team?

One builds loyalty to you. The other has the chance to build a strong organization.

One makes you the hero. The other makes the mission of the organization the hero.

One comes naturally. The other takes a ton of self-talk, faith, and believing in the greater good.

So, who is your first team?

Tim StevensComment