This post is next in a series explaining the team culture we wish to build at theWELL. The first was about passion, while today’s topic is on communication.
The art and craft of communication has been written about many times over by professionals and academics, yet it’s something that must be addressed here as well if we are to achieve a healthy team dynamic. Communicating is more than speaking–it includes perception, understanding, clarity, tone, body language, etc. If we are not careful miscommunication can foil our attempts to move forward on our mission and result in the fallout of tension, misunderstanding, and bitterness. We will focus here on the lines of communication that exists between those working together in leadership at theWELL.
The first quality of communication that must be embraced is charity. Charity seeks to sacrificially love and honor others because we prefer them before ourselves. We exhibit it most powerfully in the context of communication when we are quick to listen and slow to speak. In times of misunderstanding, we ask clarifying questions as we choose to believe the best about the intensions of the other people around us. To the best of our ability, we are to posture our hearts to resist defensiveness and offendedness, and to assume that others believe the best about us as well.
In any productive environment when creative passions are encouraged, there will be disagreements. We must be proactive about cultivating relationships before such times arise in order to develop trust and respect between members of our team [You might find it helpful to have coffee, grab lunch, or watch a movie with other teammates often. Don’t let the only social time be around a meeting table]. It’s in that context of trust where we are free to dispute openly, knowing we serve the same Kingdom vision and that trust will bring us back together and draw us closer into friendship.
And at times when feelings are hurt, we will work through issues of forgiveness quickly and seek to explain which actions and words brought offense. Everyone participating in team leadership is empowered to be vigilant against gossip’s poisonous effects in our community and to practice loving discipline among ourselves [see Matthew 18:15-20]. We can’t allow unexpressed emotion or tension pile up inside us–it will always find an unhealthy [read: sinful] outlet. The best way to deal is to have open and honest conversation to express ourselves and deal with our frustrations.
Also worth mentioning is how we communicate with each other in the this fast-paced age of digitalization. With the onslaught of emails, tweets, messages, texts, etc., it’s no wonder that some of us may feel overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all our relationships. However, in order for our church to be productive and help others know to know Jesus. If lines of communication are interrupted or prolonged, our organization will suffer as a whole. Immediately what comes to mind are important emails and other methods of contact where people either procrastinate in their response, or forget altogether. Questions go unanswered, agendas items are confusing, and appointments are missed. Let’s be proactive about honoring each other by having a short-turn around time for communication so we are all filled-in and informed on important matters without resentment and distrust building up.
I find that up to 24 hours is a respectable amount of time for getting back to someone’s. Even a simply message saying that you need more time is better than nothing at all for several days. Shorter times may be necessary for phone calls and text messages–and this is all relative to the nature of the call, etc., of course.
Charity. Believing the best. Planning for disagreements. Avoid gossip. Show honor in communication.
Sounds like a team I want to be a part of.