In this Issue

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Feature Article:

7 Team Building Mistakes Even the Best Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them

Suzanne Recommends:

  • Pastors' Forum, July 16, Monday, 8 pm EST
  • Leading Your Church into Being a "Missional" Church - One that Impacts your Community and World for Christ
    with Guest Pastor Dan Cotter (details below)

  • 7 Team Building Mistakes Even the Best Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them

    Over the years, I've been blessed with many leadership opportunities and have had experiences building many teams.

    I was reflecting on the key team building mistakes that even the best leaders can make and wanted to share those with you. Perhaps you've been making some of these mistakes as you've built your teams, and things aren't working as effectively in your leadership as you would like.

    Let's review 7 team building mistakes even the best leaders make and how you can avoid them.

    1. Leaders become impatient with their staffing needs and place "warm bodies" into staffing needs, rather than placing people with discernment.

      This is a common mistake that even very seasoned leaders can make. I remember earlier in my career that one of my managers, a retired Army Colonel, regularly urged me to place "good" people into our empty slots. He was not quite as concerned as I was about the "right fit." However, I resisted because intuitively I knew that although there are lots of "good" people around, they will not perform well if they are placed into a position that calls for spiritual gifts or skills that they do not possess. That paid off as this approach resulted in low turnover in my teams, and the team members felt fulfilled in their roles.

      If you need help with this area, please contact me at my office for a consultation or information regarding Spiritual Gifts Workshop teleseminars. I'd be happy to help you in this area.

    2. Leaders fail to involve key stakeholders and obtain their buy-in in the decision-making and team-building process.
    This is a dreadful mistake as the whole concept of "team" involves a group of people that need to complement one another, in terms of personality and gifting dynamics. I have personally experienced hires, especially significant hires, where the key leader made a unilateral, or almost unilateral, decision about a hire, without involving the key stakeholders. This sends a great message of disrespect, undermines the team dynamic, and destroys team morale.

    "Reorganizations" can be particularly destructive when handled in this way. If you are considering this in your church or company, please contact me first for a brief consult on HOW you plan to implement this. Just a few quick changes in your process can make the difference between an organizational success or horrendous failure.

    1. Leaders fail to look deeply enough into the candidate's qualifications to ensure there is a match for them.

      The primary objective of candidates is to maximize their qualifications in order to get the job! One of the biggest mistakes I've seen hiring managers make is not reading between the lines and asking deeper questions to determine the capabilities of the candidate. Often a person looks wonderful "on paper," but when you delve more deeply through questioning, you may find there are glaring issues that cause the person not to be a match for your team or job opportunity.

      If you need help in learning to more effectively build your team through hiring, team-building or gifts discernment, contact my office for information on our Building a Winning Team Workshop.

    2. Leaders do not discern when there is a mismatch in values and ministry philosophy between the candidate and the job opportunity.

      Some of the deepest conflicts between staff and leadership can occur when there's not an alignment in the values and ministry philosophy of a staff member and the leadership. Often, these issues do not surface until the person is deeply into the employment situation. Because values and philosophies are deeply held, people on either side are reticent to back down, and it becomes very difficult to negotiate through these conflicts successfully. Be sure to check out these issues during the hiring process to ensure a smooth employment experience for everyone.

      Unsure how to do this? Contact my office to get more information on values assessments.

    3. Leaders ignore "red flags" that arise during the interviewing process.

      There are a variety of reasons leaders do this, primarily due to the urgency they feel in filling a staff position. In the corporate world, these positions often mean billable hours and dollars the company is losing for each unfilled hour. In the church, it means people are not being cared for and shepherded who really need this pastoral care and leadership to be happening in their lives.

      In either case, you cannot afford to allow a sense of urgency to cause you to make a poor hire. It will cost you far more in the long run, both financially, emotionally and relationally to the team.

      Need help evaluating or establishing your interviewing, team-building or hiring process? Contact my office to obtain information on a consult or on the Hiring a Winning Team workshops or teleseminar series.

    4. Leaders fail to provide a buddy or peer mentor for new team members.

      You might feel, "Wow, I've added this high-priced person to my team - why would they need a mentor to help them be successful?" That might seem to be the case, but there is so much to learn in the new environment, team dynamics, political alliances and issues, etc., that it really speeds the learning curve for there to be a buddy system in place. It doesn't have to be forever, but even for the first 90 days, it greatly increases the new team member's chance of success in their position.

    5. Leaders do not deal with the unhealthy systemic issues that are going on in the workplace environment.

      I know it seems I'm beating this drum a lot, but I see this so much. There are unhealthy systemic issues going on in a church or workplace environment, and even though new players are switched on and off the team, many suffer a similar, negative end to their employment or place on the team. And it's because something's sick in the system.

      We saw the biblical version of this issue recorded in 2 Samuel 21. In this illustration, God told David that Israel was suffering a famine because of "Saul's bloody house" - because of a covenant Saul had violated that Joshua had made wtih the Gibeonites. A whole country was being disciplined for the actions of a leader 25-30 years earlier. Ken Quick discusses these dynamics in his work, Healing the Heart of Your Church. (details in right panel).

      As leaders, you set the tone and leadership culture in your churches and ministries. You'll want to ensure that you're protecting yourself and your leadership team from the enemy of your souls who'll use whatever means possible to hinder the work of God in this world. Look at your leadership team and system objectively, have a coach, and don't allow the enemy to gain any gound in your life or ministry.

    Need a coach or consult from someone objective to your situation? I'd love to assist you. Just contact my office at (703) 282-2325.

    Did you Miss our April Pastors' Forum Kickoff?

    It was on "How to Build Powerful, Inspired Teams to Accomplish the Work of Ministry."

    What is the Pastor's Forum? Well, it's a monthly seminar via telephone of pastors to network and be exposed to other pastors with specialty areas of expertise

    I want to offer you a free trial month of the Pastors' Forum.

    For more information, you may access the Pastors' Forum Invitation by clicking on this link. You may access the FREE 1-hour audio class by linking to Pastors' Forum FREE Audio Class. The handout associated with the class is at Pastors' Forum April 07 Handout. I pray it's of great benefit to you and your leadership team.

    Our next Pastors' Forum is Monday, July 16, 8 pm - 9 pm EST, 7 p.m. CST / 6 pm MT / 5 PST. Please join me and other pastors for a special teleseminar with our guest, Pastor, Dan Cotter, of The Church UpCounty in Gaithersburg, MD.

    Dan and I will be discussing the need for churches to become "missional," how they lose their missional focus over time, and an easy 5-step process to get back on track.

    Many of you write me that you're busy with sermon preparation, counseling appointments or other scheduling conflicts. I know you're busy! So I've set up the forum so that when you enroll, we'll ship the audio link and CD directly to your office for the listening convenience of you and your staff and volunteer leadership team. Plus as a BONUS, you'll receive a complimentary copy of the case study on "Avoiding the Leadership Mistakes that Make a Church Unhealthy."

    You may enroll for the Pastors' Forum via our SECURE SERVER by clicking on the "Enroll Here" red button below.

    July Coaching Special

    With enrollment in the Pastors' Forum, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at I'd love to serve you.

    Case Study:
    Avoiding the Leadership Mistakes
    that Make a Church Unhealthy

    Would you like to learn about this church's journey to a place of health?

    The Story of a Texas Mega-Church

    Click here to order your copy of this case study or get it FREE when you enroll in the Pastors' Inspired Leadership Forum.

    Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter, such as hiring or managing staff, inspiring volunteers, or preventing burnout, for examples. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

    Many prayers and blessings to you all,

    Leadership Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

    You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

    Suzanne Martinez
    SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
    P.O. Box 9172
    Reston, VA 20195-9172

    Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2007.

    Would you consider forwarding this free e-zine to others who would benefit from it? For a free subscription, they may sign up at Please help us get the word out by forwarding this issue to others. Thanks!
    Leadership Tips
    ly 2007
    Vol. I, Issue 8

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    Attention Pastors:

    Need Resources for Your Women's Ministry Leaders?

    Then check out the Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars....

    The Inspirational Women's Garden Club is a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

    The next Inspirational Women's Garden Club topic will be on:

    Finding Rest For Your Soul
    Wed, July 11 at 7 p.m. EST

    Other Upcoming Garden Club Dates:

    Wed, August 15, 7 pm EST
    Wed, Sept 12, 7 pm EST
    Wed, Oct 10, 7 pm EST

    If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout.

    Hope the women in your church will join us!

    Avoiding the Leadership Mistakes that Make a Church Unhealthy

    Would you like to learn more about this mega-church's 46-year journey from an unhealthy leadership culture to one that is thriving today?

    A team of three ministers recently studied a dynamic Texas church to uncover its secret keys to health and growth. The team evaluated the church's leadership culture, its ministry philosophy, and its 46-year church history.

    This 35-page academic case study provides unique perceptions into the overall spiritual health and subsequent growth of this church. All pastors, elder boards, and church leadership teams will be able to glean valuable insights they can apply to their own churches to lead to greater church health and effectiveness.

    It is my gift to you today when you enroll in the monthly "Pastor's Forum" where we spend time each month on Inspirational Leadership topics for pastors and church leaders. For more information or to enroll, click on the button below.


    Healing the Heart of Your Church

    Another excellent resource for pastors on developing a healthier leadership culture is called Healing the Heart of your Church.

    Like people, a church can become sick and traumatized from past sins in its corporate Body. The destructive effects of these past sins can linger for decades, hindering the present and future work and growth of the church.

    Healing the Heart of your Church explains this phenomenon and lays out a clear strategy to address these wounds and lead the church to a place of healing and greater effectiveness for Christ.

    Healing the Heart of Your Church

    For more information or to purchase your copy:

    Preview of August Issue:
    In August's issue of Leadership Tips, we'll address legislative and financial changes you need to be aware of that will impact your church.

    The Pension Protection Act of 2006 was passed last year, with many changes that impact your ministry.

    Join me and Dan Busby, Vice President of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) to learn about these changes.

    About Suzanne

    Suzanne France Martinez
    Founder & Principal

    During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

    Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

    Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

    Copyright © 2006-2007 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.