Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Philippians 2:3

 

Your team members came to you with their gifts, talents, and time. They have enhanced your vision, and in some cases even caused it to flourish. And now a few years into the work, one of your stronger team members tells you that they are moving on. What do you do? How do you handle this?

A group of coworkers standing along side each other.As a leader I am always thinking about the future. I contemplate where the Kingdom is headed. How does the work that I do fit into this larger picture of God’s work? How can I grow the vision God has given me? How am I investing in my team for where they are headed? While all these questions are important, this last question has been a recurring thought over the last 5 years. I have become sensitive to the reality that vision building is meant to be a mutually beneficial experience between leadership and their team members.

Sometimes in the midst of working the vision, leaders can become so consumed with the work, that we end up living life with tunnel vision. We can easily overlook the fact that the team members who serve us also have God-given visions of their own. This means that your vision is actually one of the stops on their larger journey to destiny and vocation. As leaders, we are responsible for investing in our team to prepare them for their future, which most likely is separate from our work.

As the founder of The Daniel Initiative, it is always my hope that everyone who interacts with this vision will be stronger when they leave—this includes staff. I frequently have conversations with my team to help them assess where they are headed, and how to get there. While I am grateful for the invaluable work that they do, I can’t hold them hostage for the sake of my vision. Leaders must be sensitive and able to discern which team members are long-term and which ones are short-term. We must also make space to invest in our team for the sake of their vision.

How can you do this?

  • Pray for your team members in your private prayer time.

Lifting up your team members before God on a consistent basis can help you stay in tune to where they are and how they feel. The Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth, even the truth about the future plans that he has for each of our team members.

  • Take the time to listen and learn.

Make it a routine to dialogue with your members about their vision. Sometimes people don’t share their thoughts with us because we don’t take the time to ask. Listen to how they describe certain passions or share certain dreams. As the leader, you are not only a source of guidance, but a sounding board for their vocational impressions.

  • Invest in their vision.

You will never be blessed by what you refuse to honor. When they share their vision with you, find creative ways to support and propel them on their journey. Their success is not at your expense. In fact, their success in their vision could complement and enhance your vision. After all, the more you invest in them, you make room for others to invest in you.

Prayer

God, as leaders teach us how to esteem our team members higher than ourselves. Give us the heart and the grace to help them as they have helped us. Thank you for the desire and the will to invest in others as you have graciously invested in us. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentaryIntroduction to Philippians