Kingdom Principles---Growing As A Teammate On the Ultimate Team
Teams are made up of leaders and followers; those positions can be formal and informal. They are not antagonistic but are fluid and complementary in healthy relationships. Regardless of the number of people who agree with that statement, when we are not in charge, we often think, “I can’t wait to be in charge!” or ask ourselves, “Why wasn’t I picked to be in charge?”. We are taught to be leaders since birth, but not just how to be good leaders.
Why talk about being a good teammate and followership instead of a leader? Everyone has areas where they are followers and roles where they are leaders. No one is only a leader, and we all follow someone or something. Who and how we follow lays the foundation for who we are as leaders.
The foundational layering of followership in great leaders’ lives is found throughout Scripture. Joshua followed Moses and then was chosen to lead Israel into the Promised Land. David obeyed God and is remembered as Israel’s greatest king and a “man after God’s own heart.” Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was “not My will but Thine.”
How do we apply Kingdom Principles to everyday life? I understand that if Christ were standing here and told me to move boxes, I would move them all day without question. How do I incorporate this into my role as a leader and follower when believers do not surround me?
Understand that followership is always a choice. It is an action whereby an individual or group accepts the influence of others to accomplish a common goal. We may not be able to choose the obstacles we face in life, but we decide how we negotiate them.
Every teammate will be faced with common obstacles:
· Obligation – We all have family, friends, and organizational responsibilities. Doing the minimum is easy. Not stealing is easy. Just providing a paycheck, etc.
o Ask yourself if you are doing everything reasonably possible to carry out the task. Could you do more?
o This is a slippery slope; people can become too dedicated to their leaders or work and sacrifice their families.
· Obedience – teammates are routinely given orders and directives they must obey, even some they do not like.
o Remember the story in the Old Testament about Balaam’s donkey. Despite being beaten and yelled at, the donkey refused to advance because the Angel of the Lord would have killed them both. Also, remember that Balaam and the donkey had a back-and-forth conversation in the heat of frustration. Sometimes things can become heated, but what is right will stand the test of time.
· Cynicism – It’s easy to believe that people are selfishly motivated, and decisions can appear arbitrary or stupid. Fostering this sentiment destroys trust and reduces commitment.
· Disagreement – we may not agree on every decision, but is this the sticking point? Not every decision is bad just because it is not the one we would make. Decide when to disagree and when to help provide alternative solutions.
· Bad News – Good news is easily shared, but bad news is more difficult because we do not want to be associated with problems. Research has repeatedly shown that people hide bad news to include feedback about a leader’s behavior that could undermine the group’s success. Be courageous, polite, discrete, and honest in a way that doesn’t isolate or alienate others.
Courageous followers and good teammates must be credible, ethical, and valiant for the truth. Wherever God has placed us is our ministry, and how we negotiate life’s obstacles reflects whom we follow and how closely.
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Jason Howard is a Christian who has been blessed with a loving family and great friends. His passion and efforts are using his experience as a Command Sergeant Major and knowledge of Organizational Psychology to provide solutions with a purpose.