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). At the same time, there will be a certain fuzziness on a healthy team. 

This is a paradox when it comes to clarity and organizational health.

Some things are actually what I refer to as “fuzzy” on a healthy team. Indistinct. Muddled. Unclear. I’ve been talking about this principle for years, but 2020 has only served to confirm it.

And, as strange as that seems, fuzziness can be healthy. 

Let me give some examples.

3 areas of fuzziness on a healthy team:

The lines of authority are often 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.

(I often tell members on our teams that when they have a really big project or ministry – I work for them. Tell me what to do.)

There aren’t a lot of burdensome rules

Obviously we need structure. Rules have a place. But on healthy teams, rules are designed to enhance, not limit growth. The best rules empower people not control them – 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 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. This is where 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.

Nate and I have finished our fall semester at the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. New episodes will begin in early 2021. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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