Playing to Strengths, Part 6: Living Fully into Strengths

06 Apr
Seconds Before Full Throttle

(Photo credit: Storm Crypt)

You’ve laid all the ground work, you’ve identified strengths and recruited to weaknesses.  You now have a high-performance team waiting to take off.

So how does all this look in action?

In a word… messy!

But don’t let that discourage you.  I’ll bet your first attempt at riding a bike was a little messy too, but did that stop you?  There are a couple of things you can pay attention to that will get you off the ground with a little less mess.


We’ve alluded to this before, but the focus should be on the results of the team, not the glory of the individual.  If we really want to make an impact, we need to stay focused on results as a way to make the necessary adjustments to succeed.

As an individual, we must self-monitor.  Am I making the right contribution (i.e., one from my strengths)?  Am I pulling my load without stepping on anyone else?

As a leader, we must also see a level above the individual.  Are there gaps in team effort?  Or conversely, are there any duplications of effort that make the team less effective?  The goal is to streamline the team while ensuring folks are operating in areas of strength to the maximum extent possible.  (Honestly, sometimes this is more art than science in my book!).

As a Christian (and a leader), here’s another twist we can tend to overlook:

Results aren’t just about what we do, results must include how we do….

Tasks get done all the time in the world around us.  But as a Christian, I want to do them in a way that:

  • Glorifies God
  • Encourages and uplifts others
  • Builds unity and inclusion

Those are all things that can only be accomplished if we remember to evaluate results in terms of what AND how.  To do this well, we have to include our second factor to monitor:


If results are important, we have to put the team’s work ahead of our own pride.  There are many ways this surfaces, but here are a few I’ve encountered.

1.  Letting Go

Sometimes this is about numbers.  You may be able to handle the task or role at present.  But what happens if your organization (or your team) grows?  At some point, no matter how good you are, you can’t give the same level of care and attention when numbers increase (either in people or tasks).

While this varies from person to person, everyone has a “span of control” they can handle well.  And when that span is exceeded, ultimately results (and quality) suffer.  We may need to let go of a little control to other team leaders or supervisors to ensure adequate attention to task and people.

Sometimes this is about quality.  You may have started out as the best at what you do for the team, but are you humble enough to recognize new talent that is better than you are?  Again, if the focus is on the results, and if the results are truly worthy of the team’s efforts, sometimes the best thing we can do is step aside to let someone who is even more talented take the point.  This is especially true if we possess other strengths that currently aren’t be used for the team.

2. Credit Where Credit is Due

Ultimately, as a Christian, I have to be humble enough to let the credit go elsewhere.

““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matt 5:14–16 NLT)

It’s never about us, despite how many times we forget this!

Words of Warning

You’re probably expecting me to say something like, “Be careful, people can take advantage of you when you put the team ahead of yourself.”

Yes… that’s true.  They can, and some do.  That’s why it’s so important to follow the previous steps in this leadership series to ensure you get the right people for your team.

The actual warning I want to leave you with is this: Be careful… once you’ve experienced life on a high-performance team, you’ll never want to work any other way!

And in my book… that’s a good thing.  It just takes a little more time and coordination.  But the results are worthy of The One we serve!

What other advice do you have for those wishing to fully live into their strengths?  What are some of your greatest success stories?  Do you agree that HOW is just as important as WHAT when it comes to results?

1 Comment

Posted by on April 6, 2013 in Leadership


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