EP. 06: THE “O” IN TEAMWORK IS FOR OPEN COMMUNICATION

Open communication is the cornerstone of great teamwork. Proverbs 13:17 (LB) says “Reliable communication permits progress.” There are three common barriers to great communication:

  1. Presumption – How many problems have been caused by the phrase “But I assumed…”? Here are some fatal assumptions: assuming that there’s only one way to see a problem; assuming that everyone else feels just like you; assuming that someone will never change (they do); assuming that you can know someone else’s motives (you can’t).
  2. Impatience ruins open communication because we are more interested in what we are going to say than listening to what others say. Impatience causes you to jump to conclusions.
  3. Pride – When you think you know it all, you are resistant to feedback, and you become defensive instead of really listening to others and learning.

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Mingo Palacios:

The next value in teamwork is actually “O”. It’s open communication. And I actually love the scripture reference that’s brought out of this in Genesis 11. We’ve always heard, if you’re like a part of church for any amount of time, you always know the Tower of Babel as a story of something that goes horribly wrong. But I love that it actually shows the power of open communication. In Genesis 11 it says this, “As if one people speaking at a speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan will be impossible for them.” So it’s articulating the idea that these people with one mission, one consistent language, one focal point had done something so significant that the author actually writes, nothing they planned would be impossible for them. That’s the power that is able to be grasped or gotten or received when we understand what it means to use open communication. Now this I would argue is one of the greatest ways that the enemy attacks a team or the health of a team: that we have a cloudy or convoluted communication. And as a communication major, I’d like to think that there are some great tools that we can bring to the table as a team or some great values that we can give individuals in order to keep communication at its prime. So what are three blockages that we can experience as a team when it comes to communication? The first one is that we would grasp on to presumption, that we would presume things of people. And you and I both know, like when we start buying into that internal dialogue of what we think this other person is thinking or what we think what ought to be done or we think our own perspective is the only right perspective, we can instantly create blockages in communication. I don’t think it takes very much for any of us to think of ways or times when we’ve come to an idea. We’ve come to a moment in our ministry, we’ve bought our own presumed best route and we’ve failed to realize, “Gosh, there could have been two or three different ways that would have been just as good, if not better,” but because we presume something we actually robbed the collective value of a team giving that kind of input. The next one is impatience. Nothing will disqualify or discredit the ability to have open communication, like being impatient, right? When we don’t take time to really value what could be considered in a ministry or we don’t take time to actually hear or take in the valued insight from each person. If we make an impatient call, oftentimes it’s not the best call. So, presumption, impatience and the next one is pride. Just thinking that what we’ve got or what we will receive if we are the person that comes up with the best idea, man, it so quickly can chop down the quality experience of a team because somebody is trying to stack chips inside of their own pride corner, right? “That I am the best. I’m the most consistent. I’m the most qualified.” You want to talk about something that will erase the momentum of a team really quickly is somebody’s perspective of themselves instead of seeing the greater whole or the greater good of a team. So, what are two key success observations for anybody operating on a team hoping to capitalize on open communication. I’ll say this first one. Learn to ask questions. Man, if we are a team that leads with great questions, we can turn over every stone. We can approach every possibility with great detail. And instead of coming, you know, heavy with answers or heavy with directives, to be consistently asking questions, I think brings value to every person on the team. So Carolina, what do you think? Tyler, what do you think about this situation? You involve people, you give them posture, you give them a place to actually put something of input on the table, even if they don’t think it’s a great idea just to ask the question brings people in. Right? We’ve all been a part of a great circle where questions actually qualified people to belong.

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah. I love how these values are like building on one another. Because I’m thinking back to points that Carolina talked about that I talked about and how we need to create a culture that it’s safe to ask questions.

Mingo Palacios:

Yeah. So good.

Tyler Hofer:

And no question’s a stupid question or whatever off the table. It’s like creating a culture where yeah, you’re, you’re welcome to question this and try to make this better and communicate that.

Mingo Palacios:

Yeah. You know, it’s good. And sometimes as a leader it can feel like if you’re like me, you lose patients when people are asking questions. But you have to see it as a capitalizing moment, right? So not to disqualify or discredit a question, but to say like, “I appreciate that there might be a better place where we can actually like apply that question but for this moment” and then finish the sentence or close the gap on whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

Carolina Corrales:

And I think sometimes we make presumptions.

Mingo Palacios:

Fair.

Carolina Corrales:

We think that people can’t ask a question or you know, and so people need to feel like they can ask those questions even if we don’t, um, it’s not presumed that they know.

Mingo Palacios:

And it’s so good too because not everybody on a team all started at the same time. So what if you have somebody who started just five days ago and somebody who’s been serving for five months, the presumption which would actually break down communication would be like, “Oh, you don’t know this already?”

Carolina Corrales:

Yeah.

Mingo Palacios:

Right? How much would that ruin somebody’s trust on a team for a team? Because somebody on the team was exercising their pride, right? Making a presumption that you ought to know this by now. Right? So as a leader, if you see that show up on your team, you’ve got to snip that and you’ve got to bite it quickly. Don’t do it in front of everybody. But I think that you need to be really keen to remind the people that are serving alongside of you. Let’s not make presumptions of anybody, especially when it comes to church culture. Good night. Like, as Christians, we sometimes forget that there are people who have never had a run in with church or run in with serving on a team, let alone a healthy team. Sometimes you’ve got to bring people back to health as they like try to belong to a team they’re being called to. The second one is this, when it comes to ways that we can successfully exercise, open communication, learn to listen with your eyes. And this has everything to do with body language, right? You might be getting the right answers out of somebody, but their body language is suggesting maybe they’re not confident, like to a total degree that you could help them gain that confidence with. Or, maybe their body language alone is telling you they’re not ready for something. Or maybe they’re super eager for something, but just learning to see both the situation as it presents itself but hoping maybe that you can get even more insight, not just by hearing the right answers, by looking at someone’s posture and looking by somebody demeanor, right? All valuable. You’re thinking about something? You’re like, “Come to the table.” Like, “Yes” your posture is suggesting you believe this point matters a ton. So just to recap, open communication is all about understanding the power of what happens when we all are open with like what we think, what we feel and what we believe should be brought to the table. So how do you block powerful communication as a team? Do a ton of presuming, right? Have a load of impatience, have no patience for anybody and just live and soak up all that pride that like, you know you ought not to. So you want to block the health of your team, presume a ton. Be super impatient and just love and live inside that pride. You want to have some serious keys to success when it comes to open communication, learn to be a team that asks great questions and afford time and grace for questions and learn to listen with your eyes, not just your ears, but really read the people that are coming around you on your team. What’s next?

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