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Teams: Bad at Conflict?

Patrick Lencioni identifies the “fear of conflict” as a serious dysfunction that prevents teams from being effective. Especially in a ministry environment, team members can hesitate to engage in passionate debate that is focused on ideas and concepts rather than personalities. The tendency to shy away from healthy conflict around ideas because a team member’s feelings might be hurt can, in fact, encourage “back-channel personal attacks, which are far nastier and more harmful than any heated argument over issues.” (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable)

The openly collaborative team is made up of team members who are willing to engage in healthy conflict, realizing that such conflict is productive rather than destructive. If you are a ministry team leader, you may find that you are the greatest barrier to collaboration. Inviting others to offer ideas that are different than yours or giving team members the freedom to challenge you may not be easy for you. Yet, they are necessary steps to an openly collaborative team.

Listen as Patrick Lencioni speaks about conflict on ministry teams (2007 Catalyst Conference)

This video is included in the materials for the course “Building an Effective Ministry Team,” an elective course offered fully online by Rockbridge Seminary for the Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Ministry Leadership (MML) programs.

This course will be taught next during the 2014 Term 5 (September 2-October 27 ).

Courses are taught fully online in 8-week terms. Each course allows students to build learning from the context of their own ministry roles while enjoying the stimulation of a global learning community. Learners are guided by academically qualified professors with current and relevant ministry experience.


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