Leadership teams don’t always agree, but arguing well with one another can be very helpful. It all depends on how we manage our conflicts, as teams.
In sports tournaments it is sometimes obvious which of the teams are functioning well as a team, and which of them are just functioning as a group of individuals. The more experienced teams usually have a competitive advantage over the less experienced teams, as they have usually had more time to learn how to function well together – often through addressing things which are not working, and managing their conflicts effectively.
In fact, it has been widely observed that most teams, in learning how to function better together, go through four fairly predictable phases (Bruce Tuckman, 1965). These phases are: 1. Forming (the ‘Honeymoon’ phase); 2. Storming (Crisis); 3. Norming (Progress); 4. Performing (Automatic). Depending on the strengths and wisdom of the people involved, all this can take some time.
Just knowing that this is normal is helpful. Having a kind of ‘map’ for ‘what to expect’ in our team relationships helps us to navigate the issues which come up. It also helps us to avoid giving up at the first taste of conflict (or worse still – timidly avoiding such conflict!) Knowing that this is all perfectly normal means that we don’t have to panic, and eject – we can just take the time we need to work things out properly.
Teams take time.
This blog contains the eleventh principle taught to all new congregation leaders in the Joshua Centre’s Leadership Development Program (within the theme: ‘Lead Your Team’).