Common Language, Common Ground: Improving Team Communication

Responsibility for communication falls to the leader, and often requires getting out of your comfort zone, to where one must attempt to speak in a language that is understood.

Common Language, Common Ground: Improving Team Communication
A volunteer on the Crossroads Community Church Media Team in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, works with ProPresenter while a new recruit looks on and learns.
Credit: Yeydi Jimenez, Crossroads Community Church

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Finally, in the winter, we have a church-wide volunteer banquet. While it has several of the elements of our award ceremony, one key difference is that all the pastors and staff work the event with very few, if any, volunteers. On this one night, we want to be sure we serve the team.

This approach plays much better to my strengths, and as a result, I’m much more easily able to work tirelessly at them. I want volunteers to know, beyond a doubt, how much they mean to both me personally and the mission of the church. There is very little more important I do. But if I can pick a method that energizes me while I work on it, I think they benefit as well.

Stop Talking and Listen

Finally, if you really want to connect, it’s not necessarily what you give, but what you receive. When I started this role, I was unobservant of volunteers trying to make a connection. If you listen, people are pretty good at telling you what they need. Keep in mind, it might not be what you would want for yourself.

Some people really hear me when I say thank you. But others feel appreciated after talking about movies for an hour. Other people feel connected when I take a bigger interest in their training. Others feel appreciated when I give them more responsibility or come in to work with me on a weekend.

That last one took me a while to understand. “I was planning on doing this unpleasant task myself, but you want to give up your Saturday to help? Why?”

Only once I saw this in my team, I saw it in myself. We want to be accepted and allowed to give it our all for the Lord. Leave it all on the field and know at the end of the day we did all we could.

It was a humbling experience to let people into those parts of the job. It took a moment of being quiet and listening to their goals to see how much they want to serve like Jesus served, constantly and happily.

Lingua Franca

Throughout history, common language is often the path to common ground. Find out how to reach your team, and when you do, find out how to show them you care. Finally, take the time to let them connect with you.

More About Adrian Gates
Adrian Gates is the Media Director for Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In his 16 years as a media professional, Adrian has served many different roles, including music producer, web master, videographer, consultant, social media “expert,” sound guy, lighting guy, stage hand, and roadie. His clients have included some of the largest tech companies in the world, New England churches looking to modernize, and dedicated weekend warriors. Adrian is a graduate of the New England Institute of Art and Communications.
Get in Touch:    More by Adrian Gates

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Article Topics

Team Management · Leadership · Spiritual Health · Team Development · Volunteers · Communication · Crossroads · Language · Leader · Team Development · Training · All Topics

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