June 12, 2010

Communication on a Winning Team

Written By Cary Schmidt

Communication is about sharing information with those who need it. But often communication is what is lacking the most on ministry teams. When we don’t communicate, we aren’t working together, and that causes things to break down. Here are seven quick principles that the Lord has challenged me to work at. I pray they will encourage you to be a better communicator on your team:

Don’t Make Your Leader Pull Information—Push It His Direction—Leaders must make informed decisions, and leaders always need more information—they thrive on it. Followers don’t always understand a leader’s need for information. Good communication always gathers information and pushes it to the people who need it. For more on this, see this article: “Why Leaders Needs More Communication.”

Be More Focused on Talking to Someone Than about Someone—On struggling teams, people sit around and bite on each other. They are frustrated with others, and they need to air their grievances with sympathetic listeners. But this is destructive! On winning teams, people talk to each other and resolve their grievances. It’s simple, but HUGE!

Be More Focused on Providing Solutions Than Pointing Out Problems—Some people are professional “problem-pointer-outers.” They see all the problems, but they never offer a solution, they never take action to be a part of the process of improvement. It’s not that winning teams are blind to the problems, they just view them differently. Rather than see only problems and gripe about them, they see the problems and immediately start working on solutions. This is an easy rut to fall into. Try to make it your goal to never bring up a problem unless you can offer several helpful solutions.

Be More Focused on Taking Responsibility Than Fixing Blame—What is our human fixation with having to assign blame? Have you noticed how much attention on the recent oil spill has been spent on fixing blame, and blame-shifting? Winning teams don’t really care who’s to blame because whoever it is, they’ve already owned it! Winning team members take responsibility—they step up, raise their hands, and say, “This one is all my fault… I’m sorry!” This instantly allows the whole team to focus on a solution and recovery. Assigning blame is a diversion. As long as we are trying to find out who’s fault this is, we’re probably not getting a solution into place. Taking responsibility is a rare character quality in today’s culture.

Be More Focused On Giving Credit Than Getting Credit—Winning teams don’t really care who gets the credit. Credit is pretty lame any way. We all know that ultimately God gets the credit for any good thing. And if He allowed you to be part of a good outcome, there were probably others who helped make it happen. Winning teams share credit and constantly thank others for their contribution to the good.

Be More Focused on Glorifying God Than Getting Your Way—Losing teams are very territorial and fractured by personal agenda. When we are territorial we get tunnel visioned—about budgets, about schedules, about facilities—we want to fight for our piece of the pie. This isn’t how winning teams function. Winning teams see the larger perspective and work together for the good of the whole. This means territories and personal agendas have to give way to the larger perspective of giving God glory.

Be More Focused on Helping Others Succeed, and Rejoice When They Do—On losing teams, members step on each other to elevate themselves. Winning teams are focused on helping each other succeed. Winning teams have lots of really great players that are willing to be located in the middle of the flow-chart somewhere. For a winning team, the leader’s success is a win for the whole team.

Are you on a winning team? Ask God today to help you become a more effective team member by communicating in a way that helps the whole team move forward!