What to do with People Who Don’t Want to Be on the Team

Jeff Van Gundy has coached in the NBA and has commentated NBA games (I have always enjoyed listening to him when he does). He is well respected for his understanding of the game and his ability to coach it. He is currently coaching a mix of G-league players in their quest to qualify for the World Games (no current NBA players are on the roster).

The G-league is made up of teams filled with players who are playing each other with the sole hope of being invited to join an NBA team. On a podcast, I heard Van Gundy speak of his respect for the coaches of the league because of their unique challenge to motivate and coach players who do not want to be there. It takes great skill, according to Van Gundy, to coach players who want to be elsewhere. And no players on the G-league teams want to be on their teams.

It is not only basketball players who really want to be on another team. If your place is the norm, and depending on what stats you read, 1/3 of the people on your team or even higher would like to be somewhere else. There are likely people on your team who would really rather work somewhere else. So what is a leader to do?

1. Help people move on.

There are at least two truths about someone on your team who is not passionate for the role and the mission of the team. First, if someone on your team is not committed to the role, there is someone else who would be deeply honored to be in that role. Second, if someone is not passionate about the mission, there is likely another mission somewhere else that they would love to give themselves to. So have conversations and help people move on. It is not cruel to help people move on. It is actually cruel to keep them in roles that are not best for them or the organization. Helping these people move on serves them and the organization well. As you have conversations, focus on the next two points.

2. Point to the mission.

When folks are wrestling with their role, their passion, their gifting, and how it all fits into the overall picture—there is really only one thing that can trump the restlessness (and we have all been restless): deep-seeded belief in the mission. Wise leaders herald the mission over and over again.

3. Develop for the future.

When you develop people, you are serving them and the organization well. If they move on, you will have played an important part in their future. And you will be able to attract others who are hungry to grow and develop because you have built a reputation as someone who sends people off well.

4. Lead your team to think succession and multiplication.

This week I am leading all my direct reports through their annual review process, which includes conversations about succession for the key players on their teams. If you lead your team to think about who would or could move into new or open roles, then you are more prepared when people move on. Instead of doing all you can to hold on to people who should be moving on, thinking succession helps you prepare for those moments.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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