August 12, 2016 Ryan Stigile

Patrick Lencioni at GLS 2016 on The Ideal Team Player

Last evening, Patrick Lencioni wrapped up Day 1 of  the Global Leadership Summit with an inspiring talk on “The Ideal Team Player.” Wondering how that plays out in ministry? We asked 600 churches how they build, develop, and lead their teams. You can discover what they’ve learned in our report, Next Level Teams: How Fast-Growing Churches Are Mobilizing Their Staff. We’re giving it away for free for the duration of the conference.



If you missed Patrick Lencioni’s talk or are ready to apply it directly, this recap can help you do just that. Lencioni introduced the following three virtues held by the ideal team player:

  1. Humble: more interested in others than self.
  2. Hungry: willing to do what is necessary to get things done.
  3. Smart: people-smart and able to adapt their behavior as needed

So what do these virtues look like in action within a church? Here’s what I’ve seen:

Humble team players are willing to put the needs of the entire ministry over the needs of their individual ministries. They also give credit to God without ignoring or devaluing their gifts.

Hungry team players execute on plans without being pushed or reminded. They aren’t slowed by problems but challenged and motivated by them.

Smart team players understand how to engage others, empower them, and coach their effectiveness. They attract high-capacity volunteers because those people know they are valued and will be given the opportunities to use their gifts.

Coaching Your Team Members

Lencioni’s three virtues make for an excellent coaching tool. You can use the framework below to help team members evaluate themselves based on the three virtues. Be sure to help them identify where they are and the steps required to improve in their weakest area.


What If Someone Significantly Lacks One of These Traits?

First, begin by helping him or her identify the gap. Don’t tiptoe around the problem. Use the language Lencioni provided to define it.

Next, ask him or her to identify ways to improve. Then coach them to take those steps. In most cases, you can help them see real improvement.

In the event that they don’t experience the improvement required, you’ll already be halfway through the firing process Tony describes.

Do I Have to Address It?

Lencioni warned that one of the biggest challenges is a team member who possesses two of the three virtues. In those situations, it’s easy to appreciate the two they have and ignore the third. But the value of an ideal team member is found in the combination of all three virtues, not just parts of them. Unfortunately, reluctance to address the gap suggests to other team members that the problematic behavior is acceptable.


Ready to learn from some of the highest-performing teams in ministry? Don’t miss your free download of Next Level Teams.



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Ryan Stigile

Ryan Stigile serves as the Executive Pastor of Rock Bridge Community Church, a 5-campus church with campuses in Georgia and Tennessee. Previously, as Director of Expansion at NewPointe Community Church (NE Ohio), Ryan led the launch and development of new multisite campuses. With Mount Paran Church (Atlanta, GA), he guided the leadership team through a strategic change initiative to simplify and align its ministries. Ryan has a Master of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University and degrees in business administration and discipleship ministry from Lee University. He lives in Dalton, GA with his wife Emily and their daughter, Addison.
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