February 11, 2020 Tony Morgan

As Your Team Grows, Your Leadership Must Change

Instead of getting things done yourself, it’s time to get your team focused.

I just got out of a conversation with one of the leaders on my team at The Unstuck Group. It happened again. There was something happening within the dynamics of our team that I didn’t know about. I’m the founder of our organization. I looked at the current organizational chart to confirm it. Yes, I’m still in charge. I’m still the boss…at least on paper. Once again, though, I don’t now everything that’s happening within the team I lead.

More than ten years ago when I started The Unstuck Group, I was the team. It was just me. When you called The Unstuck Group, you got me.

I knew everything. I was in every conversation with every church that was considering working with The Unstuck “Group.” I created all the tools we use to help churches get unstuck. I was the one going on every on-site engagement to provide coaching and consulting. I created all the content driving the conversations that led to new work.

I did it all…until I couldn’t do it all.

Then I started adding people to the team who could help get work done. I hired an administrative assistant to help with scheduling and other logistics. I hired people to help with content and our digital strategy. I hired a bookkeeper to track all the finances. I hired other coaches and consultants to serve churches.

I remember when the entire team could sit around a table in the my basement. I knew what everyone on the team was working on. I knew their priorities. I knew their upcoming schedules. And, because everyone was directly supervised by me, I was still involved in just about every decision.

Today, though, there are 26 people on the team. Make that 27. Yesterday I learned Hannah has joined our team. I’ve never met Hannah.

Some of you just read that and thought, “Why do I read anything Tony Morgan writes and trust that it’s going to help my leadership? He’s a lousy leader. He didn’t even know Hannah was hired.

Before you unsubscribe from my articles, let me explain why it’s a good thing I didn’t know Hannah is on the team.

What I’ve learned through the years is that as my team grows, my leadership must change.

That’s because the entire team of 26 people plus Hannah can’t fit around that table in my basement anymore. Even if I could build a bigger basement to accommodate a bigger table, my leadership approach would still have to change. What I've learned through the years is that as my team grows, my leadership must change. Click To Tweet

Somewhere along the way, I couldn’t keep up with assigning all the work. I couldn’t keep up with who was where helping what church. Next week, as an example, we have consultants on the ground working with 11 different churches in Minnesota, Kansas, Mississippi, Washington, Florida, Iowa, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee and the People’s Republic of California. (Sorry. I’m about to pay our California tax bill. Don’t get me started on how hard it is to operate a business in California. But I digress…)

When I did try to get more than about eight people in the same room, I noticed the dynamic of meetings changed. The extroverts got louder, and the introverts got quieter. The only problem with that is sometimes the extroverts are wrong and the introverts are right.

The more people I added to conversations, the harder it was to get consensus and make decisions. Meetings devolved into sharing updates that could have been delivered through email. It felt like nothing was getting solved. Worse yet, any conversations about the future were pushed aside. There was no time. Everyone wanted time to update everyone else on what was happening in their area.

Somewhere along the way, I realized I didn’t know everything that was happening. I wasn’t involved in every decision. I didn’t know what everyone was doing. I didn’t know everyone’s schedule. And, to top it all off, somehow we started working with churches in California without me knowing about it.

But that’s the way it should be. As the team grew, my leadership had to change.

I couldn’t be everyone’s boss. I couldn’t give everyone access to my time. I couldn’t meet one-on-one with everyone on the team. I couldn't be everyone's boss. I couldn't give everyone access to my time. I couldn't meet one-on-one with everyone on the team. But that is how it should be. Click To Tweet

I couldn’t do it myself. I couldn’t delegate all the tasks to everyone. I had to learn how to lead the team through other leaders.

I had to hand off execution of the strategy so that I could help shape the strategy.

I had to learn how to lead the team through other leaders. I had to hand off execution of the strategy so that I could help shape the strategy. Click To Tweet

I had to get over the desire to fix every problem that popped up. I had to stop trying to provide input on every decision.

I had to carefully choose what I verbalized. I learned that when I said something in a meeting, people assumed it was a decision. Many times I was just processing out loud.

My primary role shifted from getting things done to keeping everyone focused. I keep the team focused on our mission. I keep us focused on where we’re going in the future. I keep the strategy focused. That’s my job. That’s a big shift for someone who enjoys “doing” everything our team does to help churches get unstuck.

Somewhere along the way, the win changed. The win wasn’t having all the answers. It wasn’t knowing what everyone was doing. It wasn’t even knowing everyone on the team. The win is helping the next church get unstuck. Somewhere along the way, the win changed. The win wasn't having all the answers. It wasn't knowing what everyone was doing. It wasn't even knowing everyone on the team. The win is helping the next church get unstuck. Click To Tweet

To do that, I can’t lead like I did when the team sat around the table in my basement.

What’s holding you back from taking your next steps in leadership?

Are you releasing the ministry to your team? Is your leadership preparing them for the future of your church?

Since I started The Unstuck Group, we’ve only focused on church/ministry health. But after working with churches for over a decade, I understand now that if you have a stuck team, you’ll have a stuck church.

That’s why we’re releasing a new process—Unstuck Teams.

We’ve been investing a lot in the process over the past few months, and I know I’m biased, I don’t hesitate to say this process is fantastic.

We focus on team health and performance, but also individual health and performance. It helps your team become a healthy and high performing team (something that we don’t see often) while helping you become a better leader.

I can’t recommend this process enough. We’d love to have a conversation about what it would look like partner with your team.

 Let’s talk.

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.