Nurturing Your Team
What do you think of when you hear the word stewardship? Often, we can equate the concept of stewardship merely to financial management. But the longer I serve in leadership positions, the more I realize the importance of having a stewardship mindset regarding people.
Think about it this way: Imagine that you went to a nursery and purchased an expensive plant for your garden. You researched and know that this particular plant should thrive where you live. The garden center staff shares important information on how much sun the plant should receive, how often it should be watered, the time of year it must be pruned and the best type of fertilizer to use. When you get home, you enthusiastically install the plant and water it. And then… you get busy. You rarely water or feed the plant. You don’t really notice the sun patterns and how much exposure the plant is getting. You’re not on the lookout for weeds. What’s going to happen?
I know from personal experience (no green thumb on my hand) that no matter how healthy or expensive a plant, it can’t thrive if not cared for properly.
We know this about plants. Yet, we can end up doing this with our team members.
We often spend lots of time, energy, and sometimes financial resources, to recruit the very best team members. We may even have a strong onboarding program to kick start their career with us. But if that is all that is done, we haven’t even scratched the surface of truly stewarding the skills and talents of our team members.
The heart of stewardship is developing, directing and managing resources in a way that brings the most glory to God.
The heart of stewardship is developing, directing and managing resources in a way that brings the most glory to God. If we really grasp this concept, it can transform the way we think about the way we care for and nurture growth in team members.
Here are three ways to become a world-class steward of your human resources:
- Dig deep to really know your team members: Don’t assume that you know all that you need to know about those with whom you work. One of my mentors says it this way: The very best leaders become students of those they lead. Get intentional about understanding:
- What is the person’s temperament? Knowing this can give you insights on things such as how to provide feedback, the amount of processing time they need to make a good decision, and things that trigger fear or anxiety.
- What are the person’s aspirations? If you know their future dreams, you can take steps to be a champion for them.
- What is going on at home? We bring our whole selves to work. When you are aware of the struggles someone is dealing with or things to celebrate in their personal life, it speaks volumes of care.
- Be aware of the pace you are setting: As leaders, we have a vision of where we want the organization to be and we want to push hard to get there. But at times, we run the risk of exhausting those around us. There will definitely be times when you see that the stakes are so high and the return on the investment of both financial and human resources is so great, it’s the right call to ask people to move into high gear to achieve an important goal. But if you ask your team to do that every single time, they will eventually burn out. The very best leaders listen and respond when they see their team needs time to rest and recover.
- Remember to put people first in the midst of hardship: Since March 2020, we have all had to pivot and find new ways to keep our organizations afloat in the midst of a global pandemic. Even with the financial constraints you may be feeling, don’t neglect to nurture your team. Finding new and creative ways to express care is so important. For instance, one leader in my city discovered a new way to offer childcare resulting in a tremendously positive culture for team members.
I believe viewing leadership through the lens of stewardship can be transformational. As we discover throughout Scripture how God sees people, leverages their strengths, and offers ongoing discipleship and training to his children, we can follow his example. Let’s intentionally and wisely steward our team members and see them – and our organizations – bloom!
Holly Moore is the President of Hollis Strategies where she collaborates with individuals and organizations to develop strategic plans that increase their influence and grow their organizations. Holly is also sought-after speaker and coach who uses her expertise as a Certified Myers Briggs Practitioner to improve team communication performance. Learn more at www.hollisstrategies.com.