Friday, May 18, 2012

Enemies of Team Unity

I spent the day today with my team in our annual staff planning retreat this week.  We began the meeting discussing what worked well this past year, what did not work, and how we can improve.  It was a good discussion and everybody participated.  The result was a very productive time of sharing.  In reflecting on the day I was thinking about the power of staff unity for any organization.  When a team is “together” much can be accomplished.  There really is power in unity.

I read an article recently that quoted Dave Ramsey saying  “few churches or organizations experience real unity”. He then shared five enemies to unity on a church staff team.  I want to share with you these five enemies to team unity with an additional one that I added.  I want to challenge you to rate your organization in these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.  Is the unity of your team poor or strong?

1. Poor Communication
Communication is the key to a strong unified staff.  When the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, strife sets in.  I’ve heard Rick Warren state many times, “People are down on what they are not up on.”  Poor communication can lead to mis-communication which can lead to hurt feelings and anger which will ultimately lead to no communication.

2. Gossip 
Ken Sande, in his book on conflict resolution, The Peacemaker, gives the following definition for gossip. “To gossip means to betray a confidence or to discuss unfavorable personal facts about another person with someone who is not part of the problem or its solution."  There is no place for gossip in a team.  It is a major enemy of team unity.

3. Unresolved Disagreements
Disagreements are inevitable and can be beneficial if handled correctly.  A disagreement can lead to someone not making a huge mistake.  Unresolved disagreement, however, is never beneficial.  This happens when one person is not willing to listen or forgive. It may also result from a leader not knowing a disagreement exists or because of the leader’s fear of confrontation.

4. Lack of Shared Purpose
It is the responsibility of the leader to make sure that all members of the team are on the same page with the purpose and mission of the organization.  Lack of shared purpose occurs when the leader doesn't restate the goal, the vision, and the mission early and often.

5. Sanctioned Incompetence 
This happens when the leader keeps an inefficient team member because he/she feels sorry for them.  This can also happen when a team member with a bad attitude is kept on the team.

6. My Space Comes First Attitude
This is when one member of the team is more concerned about their own area than they are about the success of the whole organization.  This attitude is a major enemy to team unity.