When you can’t encourage your team…

I was coaching a young pastor recently on building a healthy team. One question I asked was about his involvement with other staff members. Specifically, I asked if they felt encouraged in their roles on his staff. His response was revealing.

He said, “I think most of them feel encouraged, but honestly, I can’t think of anything for which to encourage some of them.”

Really? If that’s true we obviously have deeper problems.

Leader, if you can’t encourage someone on your team in what they’re doing…

I see at least three possibilities:

They are not a good fit for your team – Be honest. Some are and some are not. We can play games, do drama, hide the fact, but the truth remains. Not everyone has chemistry on a team. The longer you wait to address it the harder it will be.

There is a deficiency in your leadership – Whenever someone isn’t a fit on my team I always ask first if it’s me. Depending on the circumstances I’ll often ask them. Some will tell you and some won’t, but I need to know when the problem is me. That deficiency in me is probably impacting others without my knowledge.

There is something lacking in them or the organization that keeps them from finding their place – It could be training, adequate resources, or simply encouragement, but something is needed. You can fix this.

Everyone on a team should have value worth encouraging.


If not, find the reason why. Then act accordingly.

Have you ever led someone you struggled to find anything about them to encourage? What did you do?

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8 thoughts on “When you can’t encourage your team…

  1. It happens. At times. Everyone may not be a right fit in a team. They are always some exceptions to our expectations. A leader should ensure that good talents are nurtured and negative people are moved out for effective functioning of the team.

    Problem erupts when we fail to confront the truth and try to be escape the problem by being a people-pleaser to all.

  2. When I was in Retail, I had a young man that was difficult to encourage. I can’t say the solution I found was the best, or even good, but it was what I had at the time. In the end, I took him to the side and informed him he had been hired for a purpose; that he needed to step up to the plate and get his game on, too much was at stake. If he didn’t wish to do so, I could show him the door, I would rather he stay, but he had the choice. He decided to go to another area ( and then another), where somebody else showed the door to him.

    I have always been one to look first at me, to determine if I could do something better, more, else? Having gone through that, I look at what else could cause the problem and try to find something to make it work! I do realize, of course, there is a vast difference between retail and working with volunteers in a Church. This is what I found for me in that setting.
    Twitter: bryankr

  3. I prayed. Everyone has value to God. If I can’t see it, I have to go to the one WHO can. He see’s their heart; He knows their every inner need. He knows where they are and where they should be and how to get them there. I can’t lead without an “extreme” followship of Jesus Christ. I can only put on a temporary personality patch, He can add value to their inner personality in a forever so kind of way! When totally stumped by the “finite”, I have to “flesh out” my motives, my human condition, so a lot of the times, I fast and pray for the Infinite Wisdom of God, which is always a road block mover! MY Prayer: “Lord God, I am going to pray through until YOU show me how to add value to this servant leader who, I find nothing in common with. Jesus, our common denominator is YOU and that is a great bridge to walk over to find a place of encouragement for their soul. Help me add value to this servant leader WHO does value YOU, help me see them with Your Kingdom perspective, the viewpoint of the inside out!” I can look at the outside and continue to be frustrated by them or I can choose to hit my knees praying for them, then this is the beginning of an inside out perspective, where I can add value to their inner personality and this is “sticky” heart treasure without any earthly flattery that always slips away, never sticks. Pray!
    Twitter: kmac4him