Once you have formed your dream team, now the magic begins, right? Not exactly… In the real world, working effectively together always requires commitment and work. Here are a few tips I have learned from the “hard knocks” of experience…
Pray together: Do not neglect the power of prayer to build relationships and provide wisdom for the job. Share personal requests and pray fervently for the issues you face together in the ministry.
Develop as a team: Be committed to learning and growing together. No one on the team already knows everything there is to know about each other, about teamwork, or about the challenges you face on the job. A healthy team will set aside some time in every meeting to discuss a book they are reading together, listen to a podcast, or visit with a mentor. If possible, get away once or twice a year for a more in-depth time of development; take the Birkman as a team, process a 360 evaluation, or attend a conference together.
Destroy Silos: Watch out for team members who can not or will not focus on the good of the team. They may feel passionate for or overwhelmed by their own responsibilities; but mature team players learn to “wear more than one hat” and to prioritize the overall well-being of the organization. Help each team member to be successful in their area, but do not allow a team member to give preferential treatment to their staff only.
Improve Communication Skills: Prepare a team pact and team norms… and review and apply them diligently. Discuss together how you will ensure that everyone is heard during meetings. How will you draw in the introverts and control the extroverts? Learn new brainstorming and creative thinking tools. Decide together what kind of issues will come to the table for team discussion and which issues can be dealt with by empowered individuals or task forces. Use visuals and share meeting facilitation and presentations so that all can improve their skills.
Practice Biblical Conflict Resolution: Do not allow passive-aggressive behaviors: procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or gossip. Be super-committed to protecting each other in word and deed. Do not allow a member to condescend to a decision in the meeting and then sabotage the implementation later. Deal with conflict quickly and directly; use love, tact, and grace. Follow up on agreed upon necessary changes. Never settle for cordial artificial peace with teammates; true respect and unity is so much better.
Implement Decision Making Processes: Different processes are appropriate for different decisions depending on scope and complexity. Sometimes a team member decides, sometimes the director determines, sometimes the majority rules, sometimes consensus is the best option… If you use consensus, watch out for team members who consistently stall every important decision. When you find that you cannot make progress in important areas, it is probably time to use a different process.
Have fun: Healthy teams enjoy being together – at work and at play. Celebrate accomplishments, goals reached, and personal achievements. Use music, color, food, humor and venue change to keep the “magic” in your times together.
What do you think adds the “magic” to teamwork?