Everyone says they would like open and constructive communication on their ministry teams. What can you do to model such communication? Here are three qualities you can aim for and live out with others on your team:
Be receptive to evaluation.
Are you willing to have your life and ministry be evaluated by the rest of the team and be held accountable? Think carefully, because that’s more easily said than done. It requires a high level of trust and intimacy, and you can’t be a person who’s too easily threatened (a far too common for people who enter the ministry). Be open to and even invite evaluation from your team members. Be open about what’s going on and allow people to ask the tough questions. Creating a safe place like this allows everyone to process at a deep level and coming alongside one another in support.
Be willing to confront when necessary.
Don’t let things fester. Caring enough to confront helps resolve things in a productive manner as you take the initiative to resolve relational issues. There’s certainly a place for letting things go. If you can let it go in a day and the issue doesn’t keep surfacing, you’re probably okay. But if you’re still thinking about the problem three days later, you probably need to address it. Don’t let bricks be built up between yourself and others by being afraid to address problems.
Practice an interactive style.
It’s through disagreement and discussion that we develop a clear picture of problems and various situations. There’s great value in the diversity of gifts and perspectives. I sometimes get a little nervous when everyone agrees too readily. I begin wondering if we’ve really thought it through or if people are holding back their opinions. Model this interactive style by being willing to put forth potentially unpopular opinions and gathering multiple perspectives about them. Don’t hold your opinions too tightly but be willing to question them and generate alternatives.
Practicing these principles helps all the members of a team truly listen to each other. It’s a way of living out Stephen Covey’s maxim about understanding before being understood. By ensuring there are multiple perspectives shared, you can avoid groupthink, prioritize, and figure out how to move forward most effectively.