Being able to enlist and lead a team is an essential leadership skill for a 21st century pastor. Regardless of the size of the “paid” staff, the work and ministry of congregations today is carried out by teams of people working together to accomplish mission. A church is both a spiritual organism and a social organization made up of people who sometimes allow their humanity to overtake their spirituality and the result is dysfunction.
Leadership consultant and author Patrick Lencioni addresses the issue of dysfunctional teams in his classic book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
The absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results are all barriers to an effective team according to Lencioni.
Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or needs for help. Without a certain comfort level among team members, a foundation of trust is impossible.
Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict Teams that are lacking on trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate about issues. Instead, team conflict easily turns into veiled discussions and back channel comments. MOTIVATED Magazine • WINTER 2009 Issue
Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment Without conflict and putting opinions on the table, it is difficult for team members to commit to decisions, creating an environment where ambiguity prevails.
Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability When teams donʼt commit to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven individuals hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the overall good of the team.
Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results Team members naturally tend to put their own needs (ego, career development, recognition, etc.) ahead of the collective goals of the team when individuals arenʼt held accountable.
Many churches have used the book and materials as part of ongoing staff leadership team development as well as special leadership retreats and consultations.