Vision + Culture

Creating the right culture is an essential part of bringing about the vision you see. I desire that everyone feels comfortable being part of Xcel Church Darlington – whatever their background, lifestyle or habits. We all came from somewhere, we just might be further on the journey than others when it comes to knowing Christ and living out our salvation.

These thoughts from the book No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke might help…
‘Our responsibility is not to make people grow or change. Our task is to create the right soil, a rich healthy environment, in which people can grow up in faith until the invisible God is made visible through His Body, the Church’

‘God is responsible for the growth, for changed hearts, but the soil is the responsibility of the the leaders and Christ-followers who make up that Church.’

These are great reminders that an ultra-modern, all-flashing, relevant vision is not enough. I must make sure that culture is right too. What is the soil like that I am asking people to get planted in? Is it only me that understands that or do the Church get the culture too?

I Appreciate What You Do

5 words that can make a huge difference to someone on your team. Appreciation fulfills one of the greatest needs that everybody has – recognition for what we do.

It’s easier than we think, it doesn’t need to be something grand.

A simple shake of the hand and thank you will often suffice. It’s a point of contact initiated by you, the leader, to the team member that speaks volumes – it says I’ve seen what you are doing, and you did a great job.

It doesn’t need to be public but that certainly adds power to it. Giving thanks privately is good but to occasionally single people out in front of the rest of the group, although more tricky, can add value to the thanks being given.

Appreciation brings confidence to the recipient. If you only ever interact with your team to tell them whats wrong all the time you will create an envirnoment of negativity and resentment, particularly towards you. True, genuine appreciation goes against the culture and works to create momentum, continued support and a strong team mentality.

When giving thanks, make sure you don’t have your favourites. That certainly won’t help that individual, plus it won’t do you any favours either.

Passing the appreciation test is easy really. As a leader just make sure you are consistent, honest and a great encourager of everybody. Once is not enough, make it a lifestyle of looking for the best in people ALL the time and celebrating that with them and the rest of the team.

Tell me – do you think you pass? do you think you team leader passes?

The Appreciation Test

John Maxwell says ‘Everything rises and falls on leadership’ and I am in no doubt that this is true. I know lots of wonderful people who at the moment are not fulfilling their leadership potential, maybe they never will.

Anyway, here is another great test for any leader. The ability to show appreciation.

Leaders expect, don’t we? We expect full on, 100% from our teams, and if possible, a little bit more. We want blood really. After all, you have vision, an end goal in mind and to reach it you need everybody on the team giving it everything they have got in the capacity that they are on the team for. As a leader we do all we can to help them understand the ‘why’ element of the ‘what must be done’ part.

We should be instructing, encouraging, correcting, advising, guiding, leading, making decisions, changing stuff if necessary and my guess is we probably do all that without even trying. Some of us are better at some parts than others.

So…my question for all you great leaders.

Why do you find it so hard to say thanks?

You would tell them its wrong quickly enough, you point out where things need to improve without any hesitation – but where is the thanks, the show of appreciation, the pat on the back, the thumbs up, sign of approval for a job well done?

Maybe its a cultural thing. Perhaps we Brits have become too much ‘expectation’ and too little ‘appreciation’.

It is said that one of the main reasons people leave teams is a lack of appreciation, especially teams of volunteers. So here is the thought – shouldn’t we be making an extra effort to make sure our teams know how thankful we are for their part in the process.

When was the last time your boss said thanks?
When was the last time your boss said thanks to you?
Can you become a great leader without passing this particular test?

Take a moment and think about how appreciation makes you feel ……..[pause]…….exactly. It doesn’t take much really but it certainly goes along way.

Would love your thoughts on this subject as we unpack it a little bit more of the next few posts.