Four Reasons Why Leaders Need to Set Team Culture

Last week, my worship director Dave Wong shared what he saw as the cultural values for Faith Community Church’s worship team. I believe that doing so will prove to be a definitive moment for the team.

Here’s why:

1. Setting team culture provides a platform for unity

Setting a clear team culture encourages us to put aside personal agendas for the greater good of the team.

Ps 133 says:

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robe…. For there the Lord bestows his blessing.

Like precious oil, true unity is a rare commodity! It starts from the top and makes its way down an organisation. And where there is unity, God commands blessings to flow.

2. Setting team culture provides aspirational focus

It is true that we should not only set the culture, we should be the culture. Before we can be that culture however, we need to decide what sort of team we want to be and head towards that goal.

Effectiveness in a team comes from clear focus. A team is only better than the sum total of all its parts if it functions as a team. Strong personalities pulling in different directions can in fact be extremely damaging.

Genesis 11 gives us a counterexample of the power of focus in the building of the Tower of Babel. In verse 6, God says, “if as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

A strong team focus enables the team to overcome obstacles and to succeed even in challenging circumstances.

Setting a team culture helps each individual see what the team can become and how they can each play a role to help the team win.

3. Setting team culture decentralises authority and encourages mutual accountability

Leaders who don’t set a team culture will find that they have to carry the burden of shaping team culture alone. They are left with the task of enforcing team rules and trying to make sure members fall in line.

But once a leader sets the culture, it means every team member has the right to hold each other to account if a person violates a team value. This not only takes the pressure off the leader, but gives every member ownership and responsibility to ensure that the team achieves its vision.

4. Setting team culture provides a marker for growth

Once the culture of the team is set, we can over time measure whether we have grown in our values, moved closer to the sort of team we want to be, and evaluate our growth in character.

But don’t stop there. To inculcate the values you want to see in your team takes time. People have short memories! So it is important for leaders to regularly share the team’s values statement whenever they can. But more importantly the team should positively reinforce culture by celebrating achievements together when a cultural value is demonstrated.

FCC Worship Team Culture

The team culture for FCC’s worship team echoes that of the wider FCC church body, taking its cue from Matthew 25:23: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

“Well” – Excellent by Choice

God is not looking for perfection, but for our first fruits. We offer Him our best because of the honour due His name and because we recognise the weightiness of His calling on our lives.

“Done” – A Can-Do Attitude

We take initiatives and approach service with a willing heart. As Cass Langton says, “we start with ‘yes’ and work backwards”.

Thou” – People Matter to God

We recognise that ministry is first and foremost about people. We don’t use people for the ministry, we use the ministry to support God’s calling on people’s lives. We ask: what can the ministry do to empower you to reach your destiny?

“Good” – Character First

We put character before competence. We are Christ-followers before we are creatives. We take the Word of God seriously and hold each other accountable to the Bible’s standard of conduct and character.

“And” – Balance it all

We balance different perspectives, valuing each other’s opinions. We graciously correct. We balance competing commitments.

“Faithful” – Faith and Faithfulness

We have the faith to start and the faithfulness to finish. We honour the past, but look towards the future.

“Servant” 

We dominate humbly. God has called us to look to the interests of others, to imitate His servanthood, but also to aggressively take ground for the Kingdom.

So that’s our team culture. What else would you include as values towards which your team could aspire?

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