Why leaders build silos

We all do it. We build silo’s because we like the comfort, recognition, and ego boost our department or  team you lead provides. We keep people loyal to us through our unintentional comments that make other leaders and other departments less desirable. When we don’t understand the value of the team and the goal we are trying to reach we will ALWAYS resort to silo behavior. We will retreat to our departments and dig in and make it us versus them. That’s not how any team should play especially not the church.

I have been reading Patrick Lencioni’s new book “The Advantage”. Lencioni begins to describe healthy teams and the qualities that comprise them. As a leader I am more collaborative and I want everyone on the team to function as a team. It wasn’t until Lencioni started talking about team dynamics that I realized that I have a long way to go. To be a true team you have to ask other departments hard questions and volunteer to help out in any part of the business that is struggling. I learned this behavior as a kids pastor. Due to the massive workload kids ministry provides, and the fact that few people on staff see or understand kids ministry. It sets you up to be a silo. You dig in and get it done.

I never realized I had silo tendencies until last week at our staff meeting when questioned by another staff member why I don’t share ideas with other campus pastors. I told him that isn’t my job. My job is to lead my campus not all our campuses. The next day I was reading “The Advantage” here is what Lencioni says about Team Number One.

The only way for a leader to establish this collective mentality on a team is by ensuring that all team members place a higher priority on the team they are a member of rather than the team they lead. A good way to go about this is to ask which team is their higher priority. I find that most executives will admit that in spite of their commitment to the team they are a member of, the team they lead is their first priority…..They enjoy being the leader of that team, moreover they feel a sense of loyalty to the team they lead, those people want and need their protection. This is absolutely natural, common and understandable and dangerous. When members of a leadership team feel a sense of commitment and loyalty to the team they lead than the one they are a member of then the team they are a member of becomes like the US Congress or United Nations it’s just a place where people come together to lobby for their constituents. Teams that lead healthy organizations reject this model.

Leaders must put the needs of the higher team (the team they are a member of) above the needs of their departments.

Ouch. guilt. ashamed. determined to change.


4 comments On Why leaders build silos

  • Fantastic post and a very timely reminder! Love the SIlos/Turf Wars book, will have to check this one out too. ~ Melissa

  • Good stuff. I want to read this book after "The Eric Trap".

    My question is this….how do you create the open dialogue with that higher team? I believe it all goes back to trust and openness – but sometimes there isn't the freedom to talk openly. Any suggestions?

    • Paula thanks for your comment. I would say modeling it to the team you lead and to the team you are apart of. I can not set the culture of the team I am apart of but I can be an example.

  • Sam, one of our campus pastors, Kevin Jamison, recently coined the phrase, "Put the other campuses above your own." It's becoming a multi-stie mantra for us around here now. It just sounds so Christian. 🙂

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