A nonprofit organization that operates in silos stifles its ability to generate results, improve online donations, share information via donor management software and achieve overall success. Fostering a collaborative environment among team members is crucial to advancing a ministry nonprofit's mission.
Why silos exist and how organizations can combat this trend
Before employing tactics that will enhance work culture, it's important to highlight what is causing information silos. There are various divots that can negatively impact a ministry nonprofit such as differing generations, hierarchies, geography and gender. Essentially, organizations can naturally mold a compartmental culture. Freibergs, a business leadership and culture consultant, explained why employees stick to their own department, indicating that being a part of a group gives people a sense of identity, a place of security and a feeling of self-interest.
Cultivating a collective environment takes time, but it is worth the effort. It increases the chances a ministry nonprofit will reach its yearly goals. Here are a few strategies for nonprofit leaders and employees looking to strengthen their work culture:
- Leaders play a major role in creating a team-oriented atmosphere.
Positively Magazine recommended nonprofit management professionals listen and ask colleagues to share their thoughts and ideas. It's best to take on a problem-solving attitude. The magazine also suggested being flexible and pushing down any barriers or challenges that can affect employees.
IT Management & Leadership eMagazine recommended executive management trust employees. They can take the lead by admitting mistakes and working with integrity. Additionally, provide positive feedback to employees as often as possible. With constructive feedback, employees develop strong confidence with the ministry NPO.
Leaders should use influence rather than authority, create a space not driven by fear, allow the team to question and speak up. Be aware of when to take a step back. There's a time when managers and directors should let go and encourage the team to operate on its own.
- Create an opportunity to brainstorm with fellow employees
Even though team members have different roles and responsibilities, many of their functions overlap. Gather individuals in a conference room to bounce ideas off one another to discuss an upcoming event, networking opportunities and prospective board members. Another reason to include everyone in a meeting is to make large decisions that will affect everyone in the company. Employees will feel heard and valued when they have the opportunity to share input and possibly instill change in the NPO.
Team meetings provide employees the opportunity to ask questions about the organization and how they can improve it together. Positive energy is contagious and it is important for employees to emit this optimistic, yet rational, attitude. Coming together may result in more creative solutions and a more content workforce. Additionally, when coming together for a meeting, Quartz recommended ministry nonprofits sit at a round table. Those who sit at a table with angles are more likely to take on self-centered attitudes.
- Host an organization event to forge employee connections
Freibergs recommended organizations encourage employees to spend time with one another outside of work. This can boost morale and strengthen relationships. People will be more likely to turn to one another in times of stress. An open communicative environment will benefit all employees.
Team Bonding, a work culture consulting firm, mentioned those who are most engaged in the organization, work the hardest and perform well. It is this intrinsic power that motivates people to achieve individual and organizational goals. Working in teams not only fosters growth in individuals but throughout the organization.