6 Characteristics of a Great Team Member

In our culture, there’s so much emphasis on being a good leader that we rarely hear about what it means to be a good follower. In any church or organization, the strength of the team is often the defining factor in its success. So why does most of the responsibility and conversation land on the leader? For staff members, lay leaders, and followers, being an exemplary team member is crucial to the health of any organization. Here are some key traits that contribute to being an effective and supportive member of the team.

One Voice

“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” 1 Cor. 1:10 (NLT)

A divided team can’t gain much ground if there are divisions and conflicting end goals. Sabotage happens in small ways—side meetings after the meeting, comments on other staff members’ remarks, and oversharing details with people outside the organization are all examples of well-meaning conversations gone rogue. As staff members, it’s important to ensure that when input is asked for and decisions are made, everyone leaves the room on the same page and with the same voice. Unity is essential; differing opinions and discussions should be encouraged in the decision-making process, but once a decision is reached, it is vital that the team moves forward together. This does not mean that differences of opinion aren’t expressed or that there is a blind eye to sin and lack of integrity.

Encouraging

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

Your supervisor or pastor is a broken human too. Often, our leaders are navigating multiple issues at a time, and we may only be aware of one or two of them. It’s easy to become frustrated when decisions or resources don’t go our way. However, it’s important to remember that encouragement goes a long way. Offering the same grace and benefit of the doubt that you wish would be extended to you shows your care for them as a whole person. Support and understanding, rather than criticism or prideful resistance, can significantly boost morale and help leaders feel more supported in their roles. 

Team Player

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Phil. 2:4 (NLT)

Being a team player means more than just completing your tasks. It involves actively contributing to the team’s overall success. This could mean talking through strategies, staying late to clean up after events, or filling in when someone is sick. Being willing to fill the gap for the team demonstrates commitment and reliability, and it ensures that the team can function smoothly even when unexpected challenges arise. 

Don’t Assume, Ask

“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 (NLT)

Assumptions can be a major pitfall in team dynamics. When we assume, we often create misunderstandings and miscommunications that can break down the culture of a team. Instead of assuming, make it a practice to ask questions and seek clarity. If I’m thinking through where I have seen team dynamics go south, it is when there has been a lack of communication and jumping to conclusions in the silence. Safe and open communication fosters a culture of transparency and trust, where everyone feels comfortable communicating their needs and expectations. 

Teachable

“Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.” Prov. 9:9 (NLT)

A good team member is always open to learning. Being teachable means recognizing that there is always room for growth and improvement. It involves listening to feedback, seeking out new knowledge and skills, and being willing to adapt and change when necessary. A great supervisor or pastor will help point you in directions for growth both spiritually and professionally, but it is solely your responsibility to own your own leadership development. Find new books to read, listen to podcasts from other thought leaders, and get certified in a new area. A nice byproduct of being busy learning is that you don’t have time to be cynical and complaining. Stay curious and hungry. 

Aware of Weaknesses

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Cor. 12:9 (NLT)

Understanding and acknowledging our own weaknesses is a sign of humility and self-awareness. When we know where our weaknesses lie, we can seek help and support from others. This awareness allows us to build on our strengths and collaborate more effectively with team members who can complement our skill sets. It’s also a needed reminder that we have limits and we aren’t the sole focus of our work and ministry. We can’t do it all, and that’s a good thing.

Your role is vital to the team, and there is no doubt that your contributions and leadership help to make your church and organization impactful to those around you. As you continue to leverage your talents and passion for the Kingdom, do a self-inventory on where you are in each of these key attributes. Where could you grow? How can you specifically encourage your pastor or leader? How can you improve your communication? By reflecting on these questions, you can further enhance your effectiveness as a team member and follower.

Remember, the strength of the team lies in the unity and growth of its members.

Posted on May 31, 2024


Jacki C. King is a respected and beloved Bible teacher, author, and dedicated ministry leader. Her passion involves guiding women toward a deep love for Jesus and His Word, encouraging them to embrace their mission in their homes, workplaces, and communities. She is the author of "The Calling of Eve: How Women of the Bible Inspire the Women of the Church" (Tyndale 2022). A proud native Texan, Jacki serves alongside her husband Josh, who serves as Lead Pastor of their local church, and their three boys. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and Ministry to Women from Criswell College, and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Connect with Jacki on Twitter and Instagram at @JackiCKing
More from Jacki

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *