Wise leaders are often repulsed by the idea of a ministry or organizational silo. A silo is, by definition, “a system or department that is isolated from others.”
Silos can cause ministries or organizations to move in a plethora of disparate directions. Thus, a silo sucks funding from the overall mission, causes confusion as to what is really important, and diffuses the impact of the ministry or organization. A local church filled with silos does not feel like one church but rather a disconnected collection of sub-ministries with their own visions and missions.
Silos are always led by silo leaders—always. Silo leaders are rightly passionate about their department but not nearly passionate enough about the overall health of the church or organization. In fact, they foolishly fail to realize that their silo cannot exist apart from the whole.
But do you know if you have a silo leader? Here are ten warning signs:
- The leader views the people he/she serves alongside as “my people.”
- The leader can recite what is currently most important to his/her area but not what is most important to the overall ministry/organization.
- The leader makes lots of statements but never asks questions to learn from peers.
- The leader fails to connect the people in his/her department to the mission of the entire organization/church.
- The leader fails to attach his/her department to overarching initiatives.
- Instead of jumping on board with energy created from overall initiatives, the leader works hard to create his/her own energy around his/her own plans.
- The leader fails to see how his/her sub-plans take resources and energy away from the overall organization/church.
- The leader cannot speak with knowledge about another department.
- The leader only helps other leaders and departments when asked, never on his/her own initiative, and then only minimally so as to look like “a team player.”
- The leader asks, “How does this impact my area?” before asking, “How does this impact us as a whole?”
Silos can rob a ministry or organization of what it could be—a unified team moving together in one direction. Silos do not exist without silo leaders, and the first step in addressing the heart of silo leader is recognizing that you have one.