What Thanksgiving Can Teach Us About Teams

Thanksgiving Meal on Table Cutting Pie

It's that time of year again. You're tying up loose ends at work, loading the kids in the car, and preparing yourself for a few days with the in-laws. As you spend time with friends and family, here are a few thoughts on how the Thanksgiving experience can help you be a better leader.

1. Appreciation - Is thankfulness one of your church staff's values? Make appreciation a regular part of your team meetings and church culture. As a church leader, write thank you letters and emails to your staff regularly. As a church staff member, let your boss know how much you appreciate him or her. Most importantly, thank the Lord together as a staff for His provision and blessing on your ministry. When you have a constant attitude of appreciation, problems seem to lessen and your team will breathe a little easier.

2. Fellowship - No one likes to spend Thanksgiving alone. There's something about having family and friends come together for an intentional time around the table that brings us closer to our loved ones. The same thing applies to your church staff. Appoint someone on your staff to regularly plan a time of fellowship for your staff away from the office. On our team, we plan a game of bocce ball or a team meal a couple of times a month. Our team loves to get away from our computers and laugh together. There is beauty in unplanned conversation.

3. Culture - There are plenty of memorable moments when the family gathers around the Thanksgiving table. Your cousin's wife is wearing that awkward Christmas sweater for the twelfth year in a row. And your mother-in-law won't stop asking about when you're having more kids. In these moments, remind yourself about how important it is to hire the right cultural fit for your church team. Interview well so that your new hires are a cultural fit and your staff is excited for them to join the team.

4. Rest - You've watched the Thanksgiving parade, devoured the turkey and dressing, and now you can't keep your eyes open. There's nothing like the Thanksgiving Day nap. Your church team is in need of rest as much as you are. Be sure to allow your team to rest after intense weeks of planning. Encourage your staff members to take time off when they need to rest away from the office. Rest and rejuvenation are priceless when it comes to having a healthy staff.

These are just a few of the many lessons we can learn about leadership and team building from the Thanksgiving holiday.