By: John Laster

One all too prominent condition found in congregational leadership teams is disunity. This lack of team unity is frequently rooted in a trio of factors: low levels of trust among team members, a tendency to only spend time together in agenda driven meetings, and poor communication patterns within the group.

The obvious place to start addressing the above trio is to spend time together outside of “official meetings.”  One team I’ve worked with in Oklahoma says repeatedly that, “More effective teams are built on BBQ.”  The senior leadership team in this congregation spends time together around a meal (often BBQ) at least weekly, and often several times a week.  They have become a group of friends, engaged in one another’s lives.  As a result of their time together, there is a high degree of trust and the communication channels are wide open.

What actions can your team take to be more intentional about spending time together outside of meetings?

Give time and attention to having some extended conversation in your leadership team about the dynamics or “climate” within the team as the different participants perceive it.  This will go a long way towards addressing the trio of factors mentioned above.

Enter the “climate” discussion with questions like the following:

1. What is the specific role and function of this leadership team (why do you exist)?

2. In your opinion, what are the obstacles in the way of our achieving our mission as a leadership team?

3. What do you think is this team’s main strength and main weakness? (List only one of each.)

4. If you could change one thing about this team, what would it be?

5. What are the issues we have not addressed with one another as leaders (what are we avoiding or what things are “taboo” to talk about)?