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7 Barriers and Builders for a Healthy Staff Culture

staff culture

Within 30 seconds of walking into a restaurant, hotel, doctor’s office, bank, church, etc., you know if you feel welcomed, comfortable, and if you want to come back.

That’s the culture of the organization. It’s easy to see and feel, and you immediately know if you like it or not.

Creating a healthy culture takes intentional effort on a consistent basis over a long period of time.

  • How intentional are you about the culture of your church?
  • And for the focus of this post, how intentional are you about the culture of your staff team?

The overall outcomes of your mission and vision are directly connected to the strength and health of your staff culture.

Essentially, your culture is who you are, what you believe, your values and norms and how you get things done.

Your staff culture starts with the senior leaders, but it doesn’t end there, it’s a team effort.

Your staff culture deepens or erodes on a daily basis, but relationally-based change is always slow, so the change isn’t easy to see. It seems steady, but it’s always getting a little stronger or weaker on a daily basis.

Without intentional and consistent investment, typically based on specific values, your culture will head in a direction you never intended. Many a leader has called me saying “all of a sudden the staff are not happy and less productive.” It’s never all of a sudden, it’s been slowly eroding for some time.

No culture is perfect, and all teams have “bad days” and “rough seasons” but their overall values-based strength helps them return to health in a relatively short period of time.

7 Real Barriers to a Healthy Staff Culture:

  1. Immaturity on a staff team is essentially when a person doesn’t get what they want, and lets others know about it in a way that hurts the team.
  2. Undermining on a staff takes place when we fail to give the benefit of the doubt, gossip, and take a “let’s wait and see how this new idea unfolds,” rather than helping make it happen.
  3. Divisiveness occurs in the staff when individuals rally others to their agenda rather than wholeheartedly supporting the vision.
  4. Lack of clarity in vision and expectations takes its toll on a staff culture because the team isn’t sure where you’re going or what they are supposed to do.
  5. Poor Communication is lethal to a staff culture. The team needs to know what’s going on, (successes and struggles,) what coming up, and what isexpected.
  6. Unhealthy competition is when a staff member puts their success above the success of the whole team. And if they are rewarded for that behavior its an extra blow to the staff culture.
  7. Inattention to consistently modeling, championing and rewarding your staff values leads to the erosion of staff culture.

7 Essential Builders for a Healthy Staff Culture:

1. Deep and Abiding Trust

Trust in any organization is the cornerstone of a great culture.

Trust is the runway for psychological safety. It’s a different way to think about trust. It’s about the ability to take interpersonal risks on the team without feeling insecure, embarrassed, or potentially criticized.

This doesn’t mean that everyone will agree or that anything goes, but there is a trust in relationships that you can count on.