Tear Down That Wall
A leader possesses a natural desire to thrive. An effective leader wants to thrive while helping those around him or her to thrive also. The best leaders do not focus exclusively on their own success. To do so would be narcissistic which is counter intuitive to effective leadership. In a multi-layered organization where multiple staff members serve, multiple departments or ministries conduct work, and workers perform a variety of different functions, the tendency is to focus on the task of the department without regard to the needs of the other teams. This tendency is known as “silo-ing.” It is not always intentional but it is always detrimental to the mission of the organization.
A leader or team member in a department or ministry should stand up for their team. It is healthy to have passion for the task assigned, to have expertise, to defend the team members, and to carry the banner for his or her area of assignment. However, each team member should recognize that they play a role on a larger team. Failure to do so can lead to unhealthy competition within the organization and lack of cooperation in accomplishing the ultimate mission. Here are three ways that leaders and team members contribute to the silo effect and note that all are avoidable and correctable:
- Operating as if me or my team is exempt from standards, procedures, rules, policies, or expectations communicated by organizational leaders.
- Planning activities, events, meetings, and/or developing strategies without regard to what any other team in the organization is doing.
- Operating as if what my team does is superior to what other teams are assigned to do.
This can happen in a business. It can happen in a religious organization. It can happen in a church. As a matter of fact, Paul tackled this very issue in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Seek to thrive in your assignment but do so in a way that helps others to thrive also. Doing your part to minimize the silo effect is one key to making it happen.