How can you draw the best out of your church staff? What are some ways to create a great, healthy staff environment? Below is a presentation created by Steve Liparoto, outlining the various practices that can help you build and keep a great staff team.

Practice 1—Lead Yourself

Self Leadership, exercising internal discipline in order to consistently be at your best, must be Job One if the leader is going to draw the best out of others.

Practice 2—Know Your People

The manager’s primary role is to discover the things their people are best at and capitalize on them.

Practice 3—Build Trust With Your People

The manager must build trusting relationships with their people if they are going to get full commitment from them.

Practice 4—Coach Your People

Managers provide the resources, encouragement, guidance and correction needed for their people to excel and achieve winning results.

Practice 5—Release Your People

When managers permit their people to function autonomously with less over-the-shoulder monitoring, people are released to use their judgment about how to get results. This freedom creates a true sense of responsibility, pride in accomplishment and ownership of their work.

Practice 6—Have Fun With Your People

When managers provide periodic opportunities for their people to get together and laugh, they help create a bond of camaraderie, solidarity and a strong sense of esprit de corps (a group spirit of pride shared by everyone on the team).

How to Draw the Best Out of Your People

Think of two or three people that work with you that have the potential to do better than they are doing right now:


What difference would it make, to you or your organization, if the people in your area gave their best to their work?


Management Practice 1: Lead Yourself

The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self: one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words and acts. It is a complex, unending, incredibly difficult, often-shunned task. We spend little time and rarely excel at management of self precisely because it is so much more difficult than prescribing and controlling the behaviors of others.—Dee Hock,”The Art of Chaordic Leadership” Leader to Leader, No. 15, Winter 2000.

Looking back, my life seems to be one long obstacle course, with me as the chief obstacle.—Jack Paar, Comedian

In the movie, The Patriot, Mel Gibson plays a peaceful farmer, Benjamin Martin, who is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution, when a sadistic British officer murders his son. As you watch the video clip, what lessons on self leadership do you pick up from Benjamin Martin?


Five things managers must know to manage themselves first.

1. Know your natural talents.

What are your first thoughts and ideas that come easily and naturally to you when given an assignment? What natural abilities do you lean on when solving a problem? What have you productively produced over and over again, seemingly without
much effort? How did you do that? What were you doing that brought the most joy, satisfaction and fulfillment to your work or life? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. Know your limits.

What has given you the most trouble, time and time again? What is difficult for you
to understand and/or learn? What are the things, when asked to do, that make you cringe? Why? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. Know where you are going.

What is the vision for your life? What is the number one thing you want to be known for with work, with your friends, in your family? What are the top three ways you will achieve your life vision? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. Know what’s most important to you.

What do you value? What are the top three things that, if you spent more time doing them, would bring the greatest results and increase your effectiveness ten-fold? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. Know what you need to stop doing.

What are you hating to do that drains you of emotional energy? What are you doing that produces mediocre results? What are you doing that could be done better by someone else? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Managers who manage themselves first, who spend the time digging deep within their mind, heart and soul to discover and know themselves better, align themselves like a laser on the target of effectiveness and influence. Then, and only then, do managers become effective leaders of their people, a catalytic force that gets the best out of their people and propels their organizations to greatness.—Steven Liparoto

If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. Do that well and you’ll be ready to stop managing and start leading.—John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within

Management Practice 2: Know Your People

Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow.—Kouzes and Posner, The Leadership Challenge

The Law of the Niche —- All players have a place where they add the most value.—John Maxwell, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork

When you engage in work that taps your talent and fuels your passion, that rises out of a great need in the world, that you feel drawn to by conscience to meet—therein lies your “voice,” your calling, your soul’s code.—Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit 

Great teams are built on three core management principles:

  1. Every person on your team is unique.
  2. Every person on your team has a set of natural talents and abilities, as well as their own set of inherent weaknesses.
  3. The key is to minimize individuals’ weaknesses and capitalize on each person’s natural talents and abilities, turning them into productive strengths.

Personal Strength Theory

  1. A strength is defined as “consistent, near perfect performance in an activity.”
  2. An individual’s greatest room for growth and improvement is in his/her areas of strength.
  3. Each person’s talents are enduring and unique.
  4. The way to capitalize on people’s enduring and unique talents and strengths is to focus on outcomes rather then forcing them into a stylistic mold.
  5. People maximize their strengths, not by fixing their weaknesses but by finding ways to manage around them.

Anatomy of a Strength

Strengths consist of:

  1. Talents: Natural recurring patterns of thought, feelings or behaviors.
  2. Knowledge: Facts and lessons learned.
  3. Skills: Steps of an activity.
  4. Strength-based Performance Evaluation
    1. What is the person’s impact on the business?
    2. What is the person’s impact on your customers?
    3. What is the person’s impact on the employees around them?
      1. Strength Finders Survey:
      2. Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

Management Practice 3: Build Trust With Your People

Technique and technology are important but adding trust is the issue of the decade.— Tom Peters, Business Author

There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy and civilization throughout the world–one thing, which if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected and most underestimated possibility of our time. That one thing is trust.—Stephen R. Covey, The Speed of Trust

Trust as a verb is seen in what people say and do. Keep this in mind as you answer the following questions:

Who do you trust?


Why do you trust this person?


Who trusts you?


What is it in you that inspires the trust of others?


The Truth About Building Trust With Your People

  1. Building trust is foundational to the success of you and your team.
    1. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team—Patrick Lencioni
      1. Inattention to Results
      2. Avoidance of Accountability
      3. Lack of Commitment
      4. Fear of Conflict
      5. Absence of Trust
  2. Building trust with your team is a key function of leadership.
    1. Character—Who you are
    2. Competency—What you can do
    3. Cooperation—How you relate to others
    4. Communication—What you say
  3. Building trust among your team members requires mutual accountability.
    1. Alignment towards a shared vision
    2. Working towards shared objectives
    3. Working together with a synergistic, interdependent attitude

Five Management Practices that Enhance Trust

  • Create and maintain a self-development plan.
  • Deliver on the promises you make.
  • Don’t skirt tough issues.
  • Expect the best from others.
  • Become a good listener.
  • Practice the art of team building.

Organizations are no longer built on force, but on trust.—Peter Drucker

Management Practice 4: Coach Your People

Coaching increases performance, productivity and job satisfaction at all levels.—Larry Yu, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 48.

The person who figures out how to harness the collective genius of the people in his or her organization is going to blow the competition away!—Walter Wriston, Banker, Harvard Business Review

Coaching in today’s information/knowledge/worker age must address the whole person.

Qualities of a Great Organizational Team Coach

  1. Great organizational team coaches choose players well.
    1. What does a winner look like on your team?
  2. Great organizational team coaches consistently communicate the game plan.
    1. What are the top three key components of your business game plan?
  3. Great organizational team coaches take time to huddle.
  4. Great organizational team coaches know their players’ strengths. Identifying your players’ strengths:
    1. Watch your players spontaneous, top-of-mind reactions to the situations they encounter.
    2. What gets them excited? What gets their passion to rise?
    3. What knowledge or skill comes easily and quickly to them?
    4. What kind of work provides them with the greatest satisfaction?
  5. Great organizational team coaches know how to minimize their players’ weaknesses.
    1. A weakness is anything that gets in the way of your players’ excellent performance.
    2. Design a support system.
    3. Overcome weaknesses by using strengths.
    4. Create partnerships.
    5. Help players to stop working from their weaknesses.
  6. Great organizational team coaches are good problem solvers.
  7. Great organizational team coaches provide the resources their players need to succeed.
  8. Great organizational team coaches are respected by their players.
  9. Great organizational team coaches know the working capacity of their players.
  10. Great organizational team coaches delegate effectively to their players.

Management Practice 5: Release Your People

No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No stream or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.—Henry Emerson Fosdick

The best way to inspire people to a superior performance is to convince them by everything you do and by your everyday attitude that you are wholeheartedly supporting them.—Harold S. Geneen, Former Chairman of ITT

Releasing your people means the manager allows their people to function autonomously with less controlling behaviors:

  • Over-the-shoulder monitoring
  • Continual inspecting
  • Constant correcting
  • Checking up

This kind of management style signals a lack of trust.

How do you respond to people who don’t trust you?


What do you think happens in organizations where managers are constantly on the look out for problems? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Managers get a distorted view.
  2. Overtime production declines.
  3. Managers’ credibility hits bottom.

Releasing your people requires empowering leadership behavior.

  1. Leaders behave like people who genuinely seek the best interest of others.
  2. Leaders act more like coaches than militant authority figures out on patrol.
  3. Leaders readily recognize and reward positive contributions.
  4. Leaders clearly establish cascading goals throughout their organization.
  5. Leaders define results-oriented expectations that are crystal clear.
  6. Leaders align goals and systems for results.
  7. Leaders do the work of establishing a trusting, open work environment.
  8. Leaders are approachable and willing to help their people succeed.
  9. Leaders provide timely feedback with the intent of helping their people improve.
  10. Leaders help their people work from their unique voice.
  11. Leaders assist their people in discovering their main work contribution.

This positive focus on behavior and performance, linked to goals and values:

  • Significantly improves morale as it moves the company toward higher levels of performance.
  • Is more likely to help people succeed.
  • Is more likely to let people know when problems arise.
  • Is more likely to help people try new things and take initiative.

Management Practice 6: Have Fun With Your People

A joy-filled workplace gives people the freedom to use their talents and skills for the benefit of society without being crushed or controlled by autocratic supervisors.-–Dennis W. Bakke, Joy at Work

There is no fun like work.—Dr. Charles Mayo, Founder of the Mayo Clinic

The most important factors that make a workplace rewarding and satisfying:

  1. Good friends
  2. Good environment
  3. Challenging work
  4. Utilizing personal and professional strengths
  5. Fair play
  6. Learning opportunities
  7. Doing something worthwhile
  8. The individual is needed

Organizational Characteristics

  1. Keep the number of layers to a minimum.
  2. Leadership/Management focuses on results.
  3. People are given freedom to focus control on their work.
  4. Individuals are respected at all levels.

Joy at work starts when leaders and managers take the responsibility for making fun a part of their teams’ work experience.

What creative ways can you come up with to infuse your workplace with fun?


View the charts of the presentation in the original PDF: How to Draw Out the Best Leader’s Guide