4 Signs Your Team is Not Communicating Well

A team that trusts one another is a team that moves quickly. That is the premise of the book, Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey, which builds the case that trust is one thing that changes everything for a team. The inverse is also true; a lack of trust and a lack of clarity slow down a team.

I have consulted dozens of leadership teams and have continually seen that one of the most obvious places where a lack of trust manifests itself is in the communication practices of the team. Unhealthy team communication reveals a lack of trust among the team and also is extremely time consuming. Here are four signs of unhealthy communication:

1. Many meetings before the meeting

There is such a thing as necessary pre-meeting meetings, when those presenting are reviewing what is going to be presented. But there are also unnecessary and unhealthy meetings before the meeting, where people work hard to manipulate a conversation instead of having an open conversation as a team. Leaders must work to create an environment where team members discuss openly and honestly together, both to build trust and be more effective with time.

2. More time interpreting email than reading it

When a team does not trust each other, people spend more time discussing an email the leader or a team member sends than reading the email and believing the contents in it. When a team trusts each other, people trust what is being said and the intention beneath what is being said.

3. Failure to tell truth when it is difficult

Particularly in ministry settings, leaders can struggle to tell people the truth when it is truth that could result in hurt feelings. After all, ministry settings are supposed to be where grace and compassion flourish. But truth is not opposed to grace. In fact, failing to tell the truth about poor performance or poor attitude is ungracious because it keeps people in a place where they can’t grow and change.

4. Side conversations to build alliances

Trust builds speed and a lack of trust slows everything down. This is often most pronounced by the volume of side conversations. Side conversations that people have because they don’t trust the team or because they are seeking to build alliances for the play they are going to make. Imagine if all that energy and time was reallocated towards the actual work.

When wise leaders see these on their teams, they don’t ignore them. Instead they work to build healthy communication with their team.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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