Lance Witt once said that we will have shallow relationships until we learn how to have honest conversations with our team. Effective teams learn to talk about difficult issues that need to be addressed. Ministry leaders sometimes feel obligated to avoid conflict at all cost. Ironically, the attempt to avoid conflict actually creates it.
A great resource that will guide your team towards healthy communication is Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott. Susan shares several action steps teams can take to engage in healthier conversations:
- Focus on results. When your church launches a new ministry initiative is there any accountability? How are results measured? Do team members ever have to share reasons for not accomplishing individual goals?
- Name and address problems. Henry Cloud says, “A problem named is a problem solved.” Many teams avoid the “elephant in the room.” It is important to talk about the main problem rather than dancing around the issue.
- Strive for alignment at all levels. Avoiding ministry silos will help you avoid an “us verses them” mentality.
- Create clear priorities for team members. Team members should be given clear expectations. Everything cannot be a top priority.
- Emphasize leadership development. Raising up leaders helps minimize poor communication. Leaders clearly communicate vision and empower team members instead of micro-managing individual tasks.
- Encourage creativity and new ideas. This prevents your church from becoming a replica of the 50 other churches in your community. Encourage conversation that is open to ideas and new creative strategies.
- Deal with confronting attitudes and behavior issues. Avoiding team members with bad attitudes enables them and creates additional conflict. Being nice is not always what is best for the team.
How have you fostered healthy communication on your leadership team?
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