Removing the Invisible Walls in Your Leadership Team

Last week I was completing the Vision Frame with a church in California. They could feel the removal of what one pastor  called their “invisible walls.”  It’s an interesting comment given the fact that its a very effective church.

What is an invisible wall? It’s something your eyes can’t see that keeps your team from working better together.

  • Mistrust
  • Missed time
  • Misalignment
  • Misunderstanding

Every week brings a fresh truckload of glass bricks for your team to stack.  Busy week after busy week leads to busy semester after busy semester. No one has ill motives. No one intends to build a wall. But the walls go up without conscious notice.

The good news is that it’s NOT rocket science to take down a wall. Haven’t you noticed it’s easy (and usually fun) to tear stuff down anyway? What we need are some sledge hammers to take down this hard-to-see  barriers.

Weekly, I watch leadership teams tear down their invisible walls.  Keep in mind, I am talking about effective teams, not broken ones.In Auxano’s clarity process, teams feel like a team at a whole new level. Even though the meeting room looks the same, the real albeit unseen barriers have been removed.

How do you demolish those walls? Try these five things.

  • Give permission to identify walls.
  • Beyond permission, shape  a culture of authentic dialogue by how you give and receive feedback. Telling people that you are open to honesty and “push-back” isn’t enough. Permission has not truly been given until it you have done. Keep in mind if you don’t receive it well, you’ll shut down the sharing next time around.
  • Schedule time dedicated to strategic conversations. Most teams don’t create enough space for important, non-urgent dialogue and decision-making. At Faithbridge over the years, the team has regularly “parked” (sometimes monthly) conversation topics for scheduled “strategic-stuff-only” meetings.
  • Schedule margin in the calendar for “drop in” conversations. With the speed of ministry, it goes a long way to touch base for no “necessary” reason. It says you care. It says you are available to listen. It provides an opportunity to remove a glass brick, instead of adding one. Yesterday, I challenged a staff member pretty hard in a consulting meeting. Today I stuck my head in her office to check in and mentioned, “Hey, I pushed you pretty hard yesterday and I just wanted to acknowledge that it might have been a little too hard.”
  • Make one bold feedback question a standard part of your team culture- “Have I done anything lately that has diminished the trust in our relationship?”

What other actions would you add to demolish invisible walls?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

bill — 10/22/12 11:29 am

Great article with suggestions to break down the walls and start to eliminate silos!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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