Leadership Lessons from the A-Team

The A-Team was one of my favorite shows ever when I was a kid. Here’s how it worked…

  • The team leader was Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, whose plans tended to be unorthodox but were effective.
  • Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck was a smooth-talking con-man who served as the team’s appropriator of vehicles and other useful items.
  • The team’s pilot was Capt. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, who had been declared insane and resided in a mental institution for the show’s first four seasons.
  • The team’s strong man and mechanic, was Sgt. Bosco B.A. (“Bad Attitude”) Baracus, better known as Mr. T.

I’m just kidding. Not about the show being one of my favorites, but that I have a leadership lesson to share from the A-Team. I’m sure there are some from the semi-insane leader, to the bad tempered bad boy who is scared to fly, the attraction factor of Face, or the truly insane Murdock who somehow comes up with the answers no one else can think of…

But I do want to share a couple things about teams.

  1. First, Craig Groeschel has an excellent string of posts on Teams here: Leading with a Team, Team Leadership, Team Dynamics, Right Hand Team, these are some powerful short posts that I really encourage you to read & digest.
  2. One of my favorite books to read through is Lists to Live By. I found this gem in there written by Robyne Beaubien, and revisited it this week with our staff, and with our Deacons. It’s challenging the way we build our serving teams.

    Key People for a Ministry Team
    A Visionary – Someone who sees everything the ministry could be in ten years. This person could also be a bit of a dreamer who has fresh ideas for ministry.

    A Shepherd – A leader with a heart for people. Someone who cares about what is being taught, who is teaching and what the results are.

    An Administrator – A leader who gets things done. Usually has good follow through and pays attention to details.

    An Encourager – A cheerleader. One who is enthusiastic and reminds people that our strength is in the Lord.

    A Worker – Similar to the Administrator in his get-it-done giftedness. He is not always interested in being in charge but is willing to work until the task is completed. A great planner and doer.

    A Prayer Warrior – You will know this person when you meet her. She is someone who will be the foundation of your team. She will always be in prayer for the ministry and will encourage others to be in prayer over everything.

  3. My heart resonates with Team Leadership. I know at some level you must have a leader who holds the authority to bring unity and move forward – I’m just not sure if we’ve always got that right in ministry. I think it’s possible to lead with a team, I just think it takes some out of the box thinking and structuring. One thing I know is that the team leader cannot be insecure about the areas where he is not gifted. I think that we expect our leaders to be good at everything, and because of that they get a complex where if they’re not good at everything, or in control of everything then ___________ will (or won’t) happen. What is that blank? I don’t know, but it keeps leaders from empowering their teams.I know that for me, sometimes my first reaction to empowering someone else is the thought “What? I wasn’t doing a good enough job?”. Somehow I’ve got the complex. Somehow I feel like empowering others, building teams, shows my weaknesses? How dumb is that?Well the shift in my thoughts and heart is beginning to take form. I’m beginning to put this together and take it to the street. We’ll see how well it gets implemented.

What are your experiences with Teams & Team Leadership?

4 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from the A-Team

  1. Jan Owen

    Here’s a long comment for you….I have learned about this in both negative and positive ways…

    1) Positive ways – It requires that trust be built and protected and that there be a huge amount of honesty and openness within the team. I can’t share leadership with someone I don’t trust and that is not a part of my life. Team leadership is – in essence – all about relationship. Without the relationship I’m not sure it really works at least in ministry where we hope to model Christ-like behavior! I serve with a wonderful volunteer team. I treasure their opinions and giftings. They are good at things I am not. I love that. They think differently than I do, they push me to be better. I love doing ministry as a team.

    2) I’ve served on staff where the pastor tried to – in my opinion – do too much by himself. When he was taken out of the picture two times in 17 months – once by tragedy and once by resignation – it put a huge burden on our staff and church. We spent a month just figuring out what had to be done and who would be in charge to do it. Roles were not well defined and leadership had not been publicly shared. It was horrible to be left in that position.

    So what did I learn? We must have the courage to lead with teams but be wise as we do so….it’s healthier for us, for our churches and deflates the ego in a good way.

    Go team!

  2. Pingback:Deacons | Servant Leaders - betterthanblank

  3. Chris Stout

    I would have to say I'm an Administrator and a Worker. Working on the rest…

    You know, the A-Team was one of the most awesome shows next to Knight Rider, Air Wolf, and the Transformers. Ha ha….

Comments are closed.