Clarity is often king in organizational dynamics. Words do matter and clear communication is vital for healthy teams. As hard as it is for me to zero in on one idea, I know a huge part of my job as a leader is to help people understand our vision and where we are going next to try to realize it (as well as I know at the time).
While this is true, there is a paradox when it comes to clarity and organizational health.
Some things are actually fuzzy on a healthy team. Indistinct. Muddled. Unclear.
As strange as that seems, in an age of instant and constant information, it’s actually healthy.
Let me give some examples.
Here are 3 areas of fuzziness on a healthy team:
The lines of authority are blurred
In some of the healthiest organizations I know, the organizational chart doesn’t matter as much in accomplishing the vision. It’s often “fuzzy” in regards to who is in charge at any given time. One person doesn’t have all the ideas or all the answers. Everyone has an equally important role to play, and while everyone knows what is expected of them, who is “in charge” is determined by what is being attempted at the time.
Leadership often depends on the task being performed. People lead based on their passions and gifting, more than because of their position, title or job description. In fact, those may change as needed to fit the current organizational challenges and opportunities.
There aren’t a lot of burdensome rules
Obviously an organization needs structure. Rules have to be in place. But on healthy teams, rules are designed to enhance, not limit growth. Rules help keep people empowered not controlled – and likely there are fewer of them. Bureaucracy diminishes progress and frustrates the team.
Granted, this fuzziness can produce a lot of gray areas, which can even be messy at times, but removing all the hard lines around people promotes their individual creativity and encourages innovation for the team.
Some things are subject to change quickly
Certain things like vision and values are concrete. They aren’t changeable. In a healthy environment, however, methods of accomplishing the vision are always held loosely. There is no sense of ownership or entitlement to a way of doing things. As needs change, the team can quickly adapt without a ton of push back and resistance.
Admittedly, this can cause some uneasiness for those who favor structure. That’s where the fuzziness can get uncomfortable, but the team has an attitude of unity, so even people more resistant to change can embrace it.
I am certainly not promoting fuzziness. I would still aim for clarity – whenever possible. Even in times of uncertainty some things, such as the values which drive the team should be clear. But, just as life is often full of unknowns – even messy – so is life on a healthy team. Figuring out how to navigate through these times and keep the team moving forward together is a part of good leadership.