Thursday, May 4, 2017

Working Together with Different Gifts

               Team dynamics are tricky for everyone, because we have different abilities and specialties, and blending those together can be hard. Paul talked about this with the Corinthians who kept fighting, because they weren’t respecting each other’s gifts. I’m sure you have probably been on a team like that before. Too many people give directions…or not enough direction is given. It’s hard to find a good blend sometimes.

               Creative                                                                                                        Manager

One way to think about gifts on a team, is to think about the kind of gift people have on a spectrum. On one end, you have your very creative, visionary people. They think up new ideas or ways to do things. They can see things that aren’t yet, and can rethink old problems. On the other end of the spectrum are managers. These people can take an idea and break it into manageable steps. They can see the different parts of the whole. They are strategists. A great team has both these people on it, because together they make things happen that surprise everyone. 

               But because these two kinds of people think differently, they have a tendency to drive each other crazy. A good leader can get these people to see the other’s work as valuable and appreciated. They can bring the creative folks to the table, and then equip the managers to flesh out the ideas that are brought forward. They also can help creative folks to not only be the dreamers but the problem solvers when something in the strategy is not quite working. 

               If you were to place yourself on that spectrum, where do you think you would be? Do you lean on the creative side? If so, you may be great at thinking up ideas, but bad at implementing them. Maybe you lean more to the managerial side. You can see the details, and assign people to tasks along the way, but it’s hard for you to think outside the box. 

Whichever end you are on, it is important to make space for others and to have grace with others. When the creative type cannot work out the details or seems to not get things going, it helps to step back and realize they need a manager not to yell at them, but to come alongside them. When a manager starts micromanaging and it feels like they have “taken over” the project, it is important to have grace with them, to come alongside them and help them to think about things a new way. 

God made us all different not so we would drive each other crazy, but so that we would complement each other. One of my favorite cartoons when I was little was Captain Planet. There were a group of kids each with one super power, and when they put their rings together, they created Captain Planet who could do so much more than they could separately. That is the picture I see in Paul’s writings about gifts. God has made us all in his image and likeness with a small part of Him. When we put those gifts together, we make an image that better represents God. We can do immeasurably more when we work together in grace and love, and God can do more through us. 

               So the next time you get frustrated at someone on your team, take a deep breath and think about how what is driving you crazy also makes your team stronger. Think of how you can support each other to get where you need to go, and help each other in those weak spots. We need all kinds if we are to transform the world.