I dare you. Go ask 5-10 of the most candid leaders in your church/organization how satisfied they are serving on their ministry or operational team. If your team members are not 100% satisfied, ask further about why they are not, and what could happen that would prompt them to offer an “A+” grade to their team experience.
I bet you’ll hear responses like:
- “I’m not totally sure what the main goal is for our team.”
- “All we do in our team meetings is relay information. Couldn’t we just do that over email or something?”
- “Our team leader doesn’t keep us well-informed about what’s going on in other areas.”
- “We spend so much time debating the simplest issues. I’ve got real work to do, but can’t get to it.”
- “When there is an important decision to make, the leader makes it for the team, and doesn’t even invite us into the discussion.”
- “There are so many things we have to do – our team’s priorities aren’t clear.”
- “I have to carry the lion’s share of the work.”
- “There’s no accountability for the people who don’t get their work done. I’m tired of picking up the slack.”
If you do hear responses like that, know that these responses are not unique to your teams. In fact, recent research has suggested that 80-90% of teams have difficulty accomplishing their performance goals. You see, we want to be part of great teams, but we most often are not. We go to team meetings because we have to, not because we want to. We often dread working together, but we keep doing it hoping it might get better. We keep on trying to make this “team” thing work. We believe in the potential that is so rarely realized in our “teams” (see my recent post on the Top 10 Benefits of Teams).
Keep believing! With knowledge, discipline, and hard work, fantastic team experiences are possible. You, your staff, and your leaders can enjoy fulfilling, productive teamwork. But first, you have to clearly identify the obstacles in your path to effective, enjoyable teamwork.
So, this week, I challenge you to simply assess how things are going in the teams in your church or organization. Go ahead, do some informal research. Here’s a list of questions you can ask:
- What grade would you give your team over the past 6 months? Why?
- If the grade is a B or lower, what are the problems that hinder your team from an A+ rating?
- When your team is working best, why is it working so well?
- What particular frustrations have you experienced on your team?
- If you could make ANY 1-2 changes with your team to improve it’s working together, what would you do?
Then, leave a comment on this blog to let me know some of what you find out. I’ll then begin a series of posts offering insight into what you can do in regard to the frustrations and issues you identify.
Photo Credit: Rebecca J. Brown