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How Healthy Is Your Practice of Culture and Team Building?

Posted on January 29th, 2015

We will be restructuring our Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference 2015 in April around The Emotionally Healthy Leader book that I have recently completed (release date is July 2015). Each chapter has an assessment to help leaders get a sense of where they are as a starting point. The following is a sample one for you to consider around culture and team building:

Use the list of statements that follow to briefly assess your leadership practice when it comes to culture and team building. Next to each statement, write down the number that best describes your response.

Use the following scale:

5 = Always true of me

4 = Frequently true of me

3 = Occasionally true of me

2 = Rarely true of me

1 = Never true of me

______ 1. I invest in key people from my team, both in their transformation in Christ and in their skill or professional development.

______ 2. I directly and promptly address “elephants in the room” (tensions, lateness, hostile body language, sarcasm, unkind remarks, silence, etc.).

______ 3. I consider healthy rhythms and loving union with Jesus as the indispensable foundation for building a healthy culture and team.

______ 4. I explore and ask questions when people are highly reactive, or triggered, rather than ignore them.

______ 5. I negotiate differences, and clarify expectations when there is frustration and conflict.

______ 6. I communicate in ways that are clear, honest, respectful, and timely.

______ 7. I am intentional to set aside time and space in team meetings to instill particular values (e.g. Scripture, expressing appreciations, sharing new insights on leadership).

______ 8. I dedicate the necessary time to explore the root causes of inappropriate behavior, seeing it as a spiritual formation opportunity.

______ 9. People experience me as willing to take the time to “tune in” to them.

______ 10. I ask specific questions about the quality of people’s marriage or singleness because it is a key factor to build a healthy culture and teams.

If you scored mostly ones and twos, you are probably have not given much thought to, or perhaps received much training in building healthy cultures and teams. Becoming aware of how what you do—and don’t do—affects the people around you is an important competency for leadership. You might take a first step by listing the desires and values you have for your team. Consider inviting a trusted team member into your process. Read carefully the four characteristics of healthy culture and team building, picking one to focus on and apply in your own setting.

If you scored mostly twos and threes, you are somewhat engaged in healthy culture and team building. The reasons you’re not more engaged could be anything from a lack of priority or vision, to an aversion to conflict or a lack of mentoring. I encourage you to take a few hours to prayerfully reflect—alone or with others—on your team and culture. Make a list of the characteristics that presently describe your culture and team. Then make a second list, noting the values, desires, and dreams God has given you for your team. Identify three to five specific steps you can take over the next three to nine months to bridge the gap between your current culture and team, and the culture and team you envision.

If you scored mostly fours and fives, congratulations! You are building a healthy culture and team and are well positioned to multiply yourself so that others can lead and develop the culture of their own teams. Consider putting your perspectives on healthy culture and teams into writing for others or teaching it to your team so that new staff and volunteers can fully “own” being part of your culture.

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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives