May 2019
Personal

Leveling up my team

There's two reoccurring dreams that I have. These are good dreams as nightmares are bad dreams. The first one involves a logo on a glass door. I never know what the logo is specifically. I don't know where the building is with this glass door. All I know is the logo is of a company I'm a founder / co-founder at. And the glass door? It's less about the door (I do love glass doors) and more about what I see through the glass door, past the logo on the door.

Past the logo on the glass door is another dream. The second reoccurring dream is seeing my team and me leading that team.

These dreams have been reoccurring for the past 5 or so years. They stopped 7 months ago.

7 months ago I gained a responsibility at my new job. As the in-house graphic designer for my church I would also be the Production Lead.

I've lead a team before. This was the first time I would lead a team that was my full responsibly. It was my production team now. I was their leader, making the calls, scheduling, giving direction, encouraging, training, and supporting them.

This team is ran by volunteers, expect me.

On any given weekend many of my team is scheduled for various roles including but not limited to things like sound, lighting, photography and media. When I took responsibility the team was fairly small in size. There were your go-to people for roles. When these people weren't able to serve on a weekend the second string would come into play. And they weren't second string because of their skills or talent. Just merely experience and tenure.

I became comfortable with scheduling the "first string" as it was easy but quickly become uncomfortable not knowing my "second string". Even more uncomfortable by having a "first" and "second" string.

I wanted my production team to be big. I wanted the ability to scheduled any group of volunteers for a weekend and be able to deliver a good service with always room for improvement. Our church seeks excellence. That idea of excellence was preventing the growth of my team.

Growing a volunteer team isn't easy. But, it became easier when I took a step back away from thinking about "excellence" and focusing more on training, opportunities, and trust.

My team could be categorized into three groups from an "asset management" perspective. Weird to think about but knowing your team's strengths and weaknesses helps you build a better team. These categories were solely based and measured on their time involved with production. So they were: tenured, part-time, and new.

Training, opportunity, and trust impacted each of these three.

My tenured team knew what excellence was. They helped form that excellence and would help lead the charge during training. The tenured group has and continues to put a lot of time and dedication into production. I trust this team. They knew what we're striving for before I began leading them.

My part-time team were volunteers that just didn't get enough playtime and experience. Either because the tenured team was being scheduled for the sake of excellence or availability. The part-time group wants to serve but also wants to and just simply can't be serving every weekend. So there's a barrier of opportunity which naturally hinders training and trust.

My new team is inspired by what Production Team is able to do and gets to do. The challenge is that they need lots of opportunities and training. And if they are aligned with part-time of not wanting or able to serve less than tenured this makes it even harder.

For months scheduling training and opportunities would be my focus to grow the team.

One thing continued to stand in the way: trust.

Over 7 months the following happened:
More adults and kids became interested by my quirky energy and fun, in times of need the "part-time" or "second string" stepped up and amazed me in striving for excellence, and my tenured team had time off.

My team felt more and more like my team. Not because I wanted to feel they are my procession. But, because I was noticing them growing and becoming a nimble team.

I was proud of them and continue to be amazed by them.

This past weekend I introduced a brand new role on the team: me.

And the one who I challenged to be "me" (Production Lead) did a great job trusting the team, having fun, giving encouragement, working as a team to solve any problems, and give praise!

My production team is nimble. I've forced that on them. Being nimble allows them to lead, step up in ways you couldn't predict, and grow the team quicker.

Training, opportunity, and trust are still and will always be a thing amongst any great team including a volunteer team. The volunteer aspect was making all three a challenge when we strive for excellence. But, continued training that was simple enough for anyone to grasp, scheduling opportunities always be available, and having more trust in my team made the challenge achievable.

All I did was level everyone up.

I don't dream about having a team because I have one that is fully functional. I trust them. I just set the tone, give direction, and support them.

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