Every church has its own unique culture. And, to a certain degree, you can have any kind of culture you want. For instance, we have a fairly casual culture on our staff, you might prefer a more formal style. It doesn’t matter what kind of culture you have as long as it’s healthy.
Of course, on any church staff, there will be problems that occasionally arise and drama that will unfold. That goes with human nature and should be dealt with as it happens. But there are certain signs that your culture might be turning toxic, and they can be subtle and easy to miss if you aren’t vigilant.
Here are 10 warning signs that all might not be well.
- Division in Mission and Vision or Values
Ideas and opinions on your team will vary at times, and that can be a sign of health. In fact, our friend Patrick Lencioni encourages teams to engage in honest conflict when it comes to ideas and decision making. However, the greatest liability for a staff culture is lack of unanimity when it comes to the basics. To have a healthy culture it is non negotiable that everyone share mission, vision and values.
- Cliques Within the Team/No Cross Collaboration
Friendships will naturally form on your staff, and that can be a sign of great staff culture. Certain people will bond more closely and collaborate more easily. But, when groups become exclusive factions, not in communication and consultation with one another view it as a warning sign.
- Leaders Who Aren’t Present or Are Self-Serving
Does the leadership make a concerted effort to be in the office whenever they can? How often does parish staff see the pastor, or get to talk to him. Do they have “walk-in” privileges to his office? When it comes to “all hands on deck” projects does that include the senior leadership team?
- Lack of Trust /Lack of Commitment
When team members trust one another and their leadership, it is a beautiful thing to see. When they don’t it’s a mess. Micromanagement by staff leaders can quickly lead to discontentment, stress, and lack of trust. So can lack of commitment or accountability on the part of staff members.
Gossip can be one of the most toxic aspects of a staff culture. It’s imperative that church leaders shut gossip down whenever it occurs, and work to establish a zero tolerance policy, that is everyone’s job to enforce.
- Bad Attitudes & Negative Comments
Everyone has bad days, but reoccurring negativity should be a red flag that there is some misalignment. If there are constant negative comments coming from a team member, address it.
- Goals Are not Measurable/There Are no Goals
Pushing oneself toward goals can drive growth and lead to achievement in your church. However, setting goals that cannot be reached or are difficult to measure can lead to disillusionment. Lack of goals, on the other hand, will set your staff adrift and can lead to the same outcome.
- Not Attending Other Team Members’ Events
It’s not possible for everyone on staff to attend every event your church has. However, is your staff putting forth an effort to support each another’s ministries and activities? Do people sometimes show up even when they don’t have to just to support and encourage one another?
- No Interaction Outside of Work/Not Having Lunch Together
While everyone may not want to spend all of their time with their coworkers, does staff ever come together when they’re not actually paid to be together. Likewise, do they seek out opportunities, like lunch, to be together? If not, there could be a problem.
- No Vision/ No New Ideas
Not everyone is creative, but a sense of adaptability and problem solving should lead to new ideas and continued improvement. If your team simply does things the way they’ve always done them, your staff culture will become stale. Staff members should have an alignment in vision which they are constantly striving to serve in new and creative ways.
For a more extended take on this check out vanderbloemen.com