3 Signs That Your Team Is Stuck
The best teams are balanced teams. They aren’t strong in one area and weak in another. They have an appropriate focus on both health and high-performance.
Gaps can create weaknesses and blindspots on a team. And this one gap might prevent you from accomplishing your vision altogether.
AN IMBALANCE OF GIFTS
In our first episode of this series, Amy and I discussed a recurring theme we’ve noticed in the results of the Unstuck Teams Assessment: the Fundamental Attribution Error. In episode two, we explored the Net Promoter Score, another indicator that your team might be getting stuck. This week, we’ll explain what an imbalance of driver and relational gifts can do to the health and performance of your team.
Teams need a balance between relators and drivers because effective teams need both health and high-performance. It’s difficult to be healthy if you aren’t high-performing, and it’s even more difficult to be high-performing without a driver.
Join us as we discuss this common imbalance and explore:
- The 4 types of people on your team
- The key personality every church team needs
- Why team diversity is a strength
- Next steps for finding balance on your team
Links & Resources from the Episode
- Register for the Healthy & High-Performing Masterclass on August 19
- Series Episode 1: How to Avoid the Fundamental Attribution Error
- Series Episode 2: When Your Staff Doesn’t Recommend Your Team
- The Leading from Your Strengths Assessment
- The DiSC Assessment
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Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we’re exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. The best teams are balanced teams. They aren’t strong in one area then weak in another. But assessing and creating a balanced team can often feel like guesswork. On today’s podcast, Tony and Amy conclude our series on team health and performance with a conversation about how you can be more intentional about creating a well rounded team. As you’re listening today, I’d encourage you to jump over to theunstuckgroup.com/masterclass and register for our upcoming masterclass on healthy and high-performing teams. We’ve all been through a difficult year of remote work and quick pivots that have left many leaders burned out and some considering moving on. We want to help you and your team get back on track. Join Tony, Amy, our director of Unstuck Teams, Lance Witt, and others for a day that will help you and your team refocus and reenergize on the ministry season ahead. You can register and learn more at theunstuckgroup.com/masterclass. Now let’s join Tony and Amy for today’s conversation.
Amy, for the last two weeks, we’ve been shifting our focus from the unstuck church to the unstuck team. And with this shift, you and I have also shifted seats. I’ve been the one asking you the questions. So are you ready to continue the discussion as we talk about our topic today? And by the way, we’re going to be talking about what happens when relational driver gifts are out of balance. Are you up for that?
So today I want us to talk about when teams have an imbalance on the team related to their natural strengths, specifically when the relational and driver gifts get out of balance. Whenever we engage with a church, we always have them take the assessment, it’s called “Leading From Your Strengths.” So let’s start the conversation by giving everyone an overview of that assessment first.
Sure. Well, “Leading From Your Strengths” is a DISC based assessment. If you’re familiar with the DISC, the “Leading From Your Strengths” comes from the same science. So when the team takes the assessment, each person gets an individual link to the assessment and they answer about 30 to 45 questions. And once they’re finished, the assessment, well it gives them a lot of information. But the two main components that we review with church leaders are first, their natural strengths. And so this is sort of what I describe as the guts or the details of the assessment, Tony. This is where we can look at natural strengths related to how people process information, how we approach problem solving, how we respond to managing change and how we face into risk. So we look at those details, but the second component is what we call the strengths wheel. We talk about it a lot, but this is kind of the bottom line of the assessment, the summary of how all of those four strengths come together. And what I love about doing this assessment with teams is that each person not only gets a view into their personal strengths and abilities, their unique wiring, but it also gives them the opportunity to look at the entire team. So we get to see what the entire team’s natural strengths are. And you know this, when we put them all together, we get to see the diversity of the strengths on the team, or sometimes the lack of diversity of the strengths on the team.
Yeah. It’s always been amazing to me. Of course, again, this assessment’s built into The Unstuck Process, so every church we engage with goes through this, but I’m always surprised at how surprised pastors are when they recognize, oh, I have those people on my team, but I don’t have any of those people on my team. And actually that’s where I’d like to focus this conversation now. So you talked about that second component, the strengths wheel. Can you give us an overview of what that looks like?
Sure. All right. Since we’re just doing this via podcast, let’s start by having everyone visualize a wheel. Got that?
I’m good so far.
Okay, good. And by the way, I think this visual will be in our show notes, but now I want you to cut that wheel in half vertically and horizontally, just like you would a pizza when you cut it. And as I walk through this, I’ll give everyone an overview of each section of the wheel. We’ll talk about the top half and the bottom half and then the left half and the right half. And then lastly, we’ll look at each quadrant, each pizza slice, giving an overview of what each of them means. All right. Still with me, Tony?
Yes, but now I am very hungry.
Well, let’s look at the top half of the wheel first. So if your assessment lands you in the top half, that means you tip towards task or mission accomplishment first. You like to get stuff done. And Tony, this is where you land, right?
Absolutely. There’s a mission to get accomplished, Amy.
Yes. You like to get stuff done. If we go to the bottom half, what that half talks about is you tip more towards people or relationships first. And that’s where I am. And to be clear, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like to get stuff done too, or that Tony, you don’t care about people or relationships. It just means you have a work style that tends to put a greater emphasis on one or the other. For you, that’s mission accomplishment. For me, that’s people and relationships. And of course both are strengths.
All right. Let’s shift to the left and right halves. So people on the left side of the wheel work at a slower pace. I often describe them as people who prefer to kind of take a step back before taking one further. They want time to think and time to process information. People on the right side of the wheel, they’re faster paced, and the further right they are, the faster they think and act. You might describe them as ready, fire, aim, kind of person. And Tony, you might find this funny. I was working with a church recently, and as we looked at the wheel, I mentioned the difference on the slower pace and faster pace. And I could see that some of the people in the room felt like being on the slower pace side was a negative, but the senior pastor stepped in and said, well, if you look at the left side, you’re and if you’re on the right side, you’re impulsive.
Yeah, there you go.
And I thought there is some truth to that. Yeah.
And, it’s a good thing. We have people balancing us out on our team, Amy, because you and I tend to be more on the fast paced side. So that’s a good way to put it. And again, being slower paced or faster pace, they’re both strengths. And we need both of those strengths on our teams.
All right, let me break it down a step further. Now I want to go to the actual quadrants. And so we’ll switch the analogy from a pizza to a clock so we can work our way around the wheel. And the labels, by the way, that I give these quadrants, you know, DISC is one way to label these, the D.I.S. and C, but I’m going to use social styles, and you can Google that, listeners, if you want to look more into it, but let’s stop, start, excuse me, on the top half and right side. So these are the drivers. These are people who are focused on task mission, and they like to get things done. And again, Tony, this is where you are. Okay? So drivers, what they really value are results. And if they had a motto, it would kind of be just do it. And they like to ask the question, “What?” They don’t necessarily need to know the why, how, who, all of that. Drivers tend to thrive on a challenge. They’re very internally motivated to succeed. They’re great at seeing the big picture. They can also be direct. They can be blunt, and they can anger easily. Not, not you, Tony, but some drivers can be that way.
Oh, well, you don’t see it on the outside, but on the inside, it’s there, Amy.
All right, let’s move around the wheel. So we’re going clockwise here, the next quadrant. So we’re still on the right side, but we’re on the bottom half of the wheel. And we call these the expressives. And again, this is where I sit. So I relate with these descriptions, but what expressives really value is influence. People in this space. They tend to bring a smile to work. They like to have fun, and they value influencing other people. They tend to be higher energy people, enthusiastic. They’re often a talker, which you might attest to, and they can be a little bit impulsive at times. That’s the pace piece of it. If we continue to move around the wheel, we’re still in the bottom half, but now we’re on the left side of the wheel. These are the amiables, and the amiables are the S in the DISC, if you just want to track with us here, but what they really value is stability. I like the animal kingdom world. They describe amiables as the golden retriever. And I think that’s because these folks tend to be very loyal, very dependable, very calm. They kind of have this motto of let’s do these things together. Again, that’s the people’s side influence there. They’re also slower to make decisions, and they don’t like to be rushed. And they really don’t like a lot of conflict. They like kind of friendly, non-threatening environments. And then if we make our way to the last quadrant, we’re back on the top half of the wheel. Now on the left side, these are our analytics. So what analytics value is accuracy. So they want to do things right the first time. They like facts and data. They’re systematic. They like the organization and completion of tasks. And what’s interesting about analytics, it’s funny when I say this, they all light up, but they fear being wrong, which is really interesting. That goes back to wanting to do things right the first time. So when everyone takes the assessment, Tony, you get to see where you are on that wheel. And you can dig in a little bit deeper to understand what that means, and your colleagues, you can see where they are, so you can understand the different wiring of the people that you work with.
That’s good, Amy. All right, so let me ask you this. When church teams take the assessment, are there any patterns that you usually see?
Yeah. After working, I got to believe with over 200 churches or somewhere in that ballpark, the short answer is yes, there are patterns I see. The first one that comes to mind is that many people who work in churches are on the people half of the wheel. So it’s not unusual, Tony, for me to see about 80% of the team, sometimes, on the people half. It’s always more than 50% for sure. But most churches trend towards 80% of the people half, which makes recognizing pattern number two, obvious, which is, they’re almost always gaps on the top half of the wheel, particularly in that driver quadrant.
Yeah. It’s always unusual when I’m engaging with churches. I’m looking, is there anybody on the team wired up like I’m wired up? And I don’t know why that is, why we don’t see more folks that are in that driver quadrant, in particular, but it is the case many times there’s a void there. However, I have encountered several churches, Amy, where the only person in that driver quadrant is the senior pastor. And that leads to an interesting dynamic then with the rest of the team, which maybe we’ll get into later. Or maybe we can hold for another conversation at some point in the future. But when the senior is in a different place than the rest of the team, there are some benefits to that because they’re helping to balance out the team. But also you can imagine there’s oftentimes tension there as well.
There is. And what I see, Tony, is a lot of times the senior pastor isn’t naturally wired to be a driver, but they behave that way because they don’t have a driver on their team, but we’ll get into that more. Let me respond though. You said, you know, why do we see more people on this people side? And here’s what I’ve figured out over the years. People-people like to go into ministry. That’s why they were drawn to the ministry, they’re shepherds, they’re pastors. Shepherds are drawn by the flock. And we see church is a highly relational place. And so highly relational people are drawn to it. And then the second reason why is because I think people-people like to hire people-people. So we continue that pattern of adding people who are wired or similar to us and who share a lot of the same perspectives. So the unequal weighting of people-people happens easily because that just continues through the hiring. So, and by the way, I’m not saying that it needs to all be equal. We don’t need one task person for every people-person. It doesn’t work like that. But the diversity overall is a strength. I always go back to first Corinthians 12 with churches, where we talk about the body. You know, if the whole body were an eye, how would we hear? If the whole body were an ear, how would we see anything? So gaps can create weakness on a team.
So Amy, that makes sense. But you particularly called out the lack of drivers, those that are more task-focused and faster paced in how they process decisions and so on. Why do you think churches oftentimes have this lack of drivers on their team?
It starts with hiring, as I was saying before. We hire people-people as people-people, and we do usually feel like we need some analytics on the team. That’s the top half the wheel, but on the slower pace. And we, you know, we fill out that analytical space in some of our operational roles, finance roles, naturally, as the people-people notice the need, right? We don’t have those skills.
Yeah. It’s administrative support and leadership that some of the relational people don’t have. So they notice the gap, and they want to fill that gap. Yeah, I get that. Right. Yeah.
But the driver position doesn’t really become a priority until churches kind of strategically make it a priority. In other words, we don’t usually drift into hiring a driver. It’s usually something we have to do intentionally after noticing and understanding the gap. And like I was saying earlier, often the lead pastor isn’t a driver. Now we have several lead pastors who are drivers, but many of them end up in my quadrant, actually, in the expressive. And that makes sense because we value influence. A lot of pastors are wired that way, but when there are no drivers on the team, our lead pastors usually adapt. They go up, right? So they adapt towards task/mission and away from people to cover those responsibilities, which means they’re really behaving outside of their natural wiring to fill a gap. And any time. That’s what this assessment shows too, Tony. It shows where you’re naturally wired and then how you’re behaving today. And so you would see a circle on the chart, you know, in the expressive, and then you’d see a star up in the driver. And that would show that that person is moving. And that is stress. Really the length of that adaption is stress, and we all know stress starts kind of mental and it can get physical. And anyways, that’s why some of these pastors are so tired, cause they’re trying to drive the execution of the vision where really well, you need a natural driver to do that.
I get that because when I try to adapt too much on the relational side, it’s not, again, I love people. I love engaging with my team. I love being on-site, working with people, leaders, churches, but when I expend too much energy doing that, I feel that stress and I can get worn out too, in the opposite direction. So Amy, what happens though, when there are few or no drivers on the team?
Yep. So that relates to kind of what I just said. The biggest impact is that no one is really driving the ministry vision forward. You know, the lead pastor is a visionary, right? That’s one of the four things they can’t delegate. So vision is on their plate, and he or she is a great teacher and hopefully drives a great culture, but it’s the driver on the team that translates vision into action. It’s the driver who has plans, goals, and clarity on how we’re going to get to where we believe God’s calling us, and drivers, I see this in you, Tony, they don’t rest until the vision is carried through and put into action. So there’s always busy-ness on church teams, you know, that’s obvious. But without drivers, there’s usually not a lot of productivity or forward movement towards a vision. Productivity requires strategic planning to create a roadmap. And drivers are those strategic planners. So high impact teams that are high performing and healthy, they have a driver on the team. They really do. I think it’s very hard to be high performing when there’s not a driver, and it’s hard to be healthy if you aren’t high-performing, right? Cause nobody likes to do a bunch of work and not actually get anything accomplished. I was just thinking, Tony, one of the churches I worked with several years ago, it was a mid-sized church, and they had eight people participating in their staffing and structure review. And they were great people by the way. All eight of them were in that amiable quadrant, the lower left. And it was just this “A-ha” moment to go, oh my gosh, that’s why we’re not getting things done. And then did you remember the church we worked, kind of in your area in Georgia, where all four executives were drivers? That’s a funny a mix as well.
Yeah, it’s interesting though. I do think it’s common for senior pastors to have a vision for where they’re sensing God’s taking the church in the future. And I think the assumption is if we just continue to communicate the vision, cast the vision, that eventually it will be accomplished. And yet without this driver, the action that actually pulls the team into the future, that act to see that vision through, it rarely happens. And so it’s beyond having clear vision, it’s beyond vision casting. We need somebody that’s actually driving the strategy and the action to see that vision through. Amy, this sounds like a pretty important role. So why do we have so few drivers on our teams?
Well, I think, drivers have a unique personality. Again, they value results and they’ve got that, just do it mentality. And that is different than people on the people side of the wheel. In fact, I read a book years ago called “Orbiting the Giant Hairball,” and they talk about an organization really being an organism. And if you think about it, I’ve used this example before, but you know, if you get something under your skin, the body immediately sends all this stuff to wherever that is trying to push it back out of the body. And I think that’s sometimes how organizations can respond to someone wired like a driver, especially if they don’t have positional leadership. They’re on the team, but they aren’t in a place where they’ve got a title that they can make decisions. If they’re lower in the organization, the organism likes to work them out because they’re not wired like us. So a new driver on the team, for those who don’t have many drivers right now, will actually seem a little bit foreign, and their style sometimes can diverge from the status quo, kind of cutting against the way things have always typically been done. They want efficiency, and they’re not afraid to completely scrap something if it’s not working right. Even if it affects people. Think about people-people for a minute. We make lots of decisions based on how people are going to feel, you know, how people are going to respond to something. Drivers, I envy it actuall,y have the ability to get the people side out of it so that we actually can make some of the decisions that we really need to be making. But you can see how this would be, a driver is different than the people side. So people-people sometimes respond negatively to that foreign style and push out the drivers, and my encouragement to churches is you need to embrace this. You need to go into it with your eyes open. Don’t push them out because organizationally, we need people wired this way.
Yeah, that’s good, Amy. All right. So what are some of the next steps if a team feels like they lack some balance when it comes to the people half and the task half of the wheel?
Yeah. Well I think everyone, every church, every team should take this assessment. So you can determine if there’s any gaps on the team and ideally, you know, churches, you would do this as part of an engagement with Unstuck. So we can coach you through the results, but really anybody, any team, can buy the assessment at any time at Ministry Insights. But that’s really the starting point. I think first you have to understand what your starting point is, discover your team’s natural strengths, where everybody lands on the wheel, then you can figure out your next steps to take to add diversity and some balance to the team.
That’s good. All right. Amy, any final thoughts before we wrap up today’s conversation?
Yeah, maybe just clarity. I’m not saying that drivers are the end all of every team. Every quadrant, I want to just want to reaffirm, is valuable to a team. The key is that we don’t want to be missing any of the quadrants. If there was only a team of drivers, like the team I mentioned before, I’m not sure I’d want to be on that team either if it was all amiables or all expressives or all drivers. Drivers bring a unique set of gifts, just like all the other quadrants. But because of some of the reasons we spoke about earlier, they’re just often missing. So that’s why I’ve elevated their importance a little bit today. I will say this too, this conversation has been one of the most impactful of our Unstuck engagements in the staffing and structure area. Deeply understanding the people and the wiring on our team has allowed us to make significant breakthroughs. Because once you understand these natural strengths, you also understand how to better influence your colleagues.
Yeah. And Amy, let me just jump in. I think where we’ve seen the most breakthroughs has actually been with the larger churches that we’ve worked with because they have not recognized this in the past, and they’ve not looked at this balance on their team in the past. And as a result of this, when we can work through this process with them and get to the other side and think about filling those gaps, it’s really made a huge impact in the larger churches that we’ve served.
It has. And I will also add, Tony, that most of the churches I work with have now brought this assessment into their hiring process. So before they even meet a candidate, they’re having them take this assessment so they can see will they bring some of those natural strengths that will strengthen and add more diversity to our team. I would just say too, for our listeners, if you feel a stuckness on your team, I encourage you to check out how we can serve you at Unstuck. You can find more information about the “Leading From Your Strengths” assessment at our website. And then also, Tony, I just wanted to invite our listeners again to join our webinar on August 19th. It’s a one day masterclass. I was just looking at all the content. It’s going to be great. It features Lance Witt, along with you, Tony, and myself. And then we’ve got several guests from churches across the United States. It’s very focused on the principles and the skills we all need to get our teams back on track. Specifically participants will be equipped to find this right balance between health and high performance, how to invest in the spiritual and emotional health of your teams, how to take your team’s management skills to a higher level. That one’s gold. I mean, how many pastors have been trained in management? Not very many, and then also how to build a life-giving culture. So you can find more about that, listeners, at our website, at theunstuckgroup.com/masterclass.
Thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. If you’re sensing this is a good time for you to assess the health of your team, don’t forget to take the Unstuck Teams Assessment, as well as register your team for the upcoming masterclass on healthy and high-performing teams on August 19th. If you’re enjoying this podcast and it’s been helpful for you, would you consider rating and reviewing us on your favorite podcasting platform? We’d be so grateful if you did. Next week, we’re back with another brand new episode. So until then, have a great week.