Avoiding Leadership Silos

A CHALLENGE that arises when serving in a large youth department is the need for multiple teams to manage both the people and tasks that fall under our care. Often each of these teams will have a key leader, along with roles, values and expectations specific to that team’s contribution. The danger of siloing arises when these teams develop such a distinctive identity that they separate themselves from the other youth teams, or in the worst cases, the vision of the department altogether.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t usually done with any hostile intent; it’s simply a result of hanging out and serving alongside the same set of people week by week, and in the busyness of serving, accountability to the greater vision falls off the radar. Remembering of course, that these teams are made of people!


Symptoms of leadership siloing can often include hostility between teams, suspicion around the contribution of a leader on another team, team exclusiveness, reduced cross-team communication, and a sense of jealousy rather than celebrating a shared success. The drag will always be toward silos, so for this reason we need to be intentional about taking practical steps to avoid them. Here’s a few that you as a youth leader can take:

  1. Be intentional about connecting with leaders of other teams. Express an interest in what they are doing, as well as the successes and struggles of their contribution. Have fun, joke around, share stories and life – not just during youth time, but perhaps on a Sunday night or at McDonalds when leaders meet up after a youth night.
  2. Don’t let offence fester and spread. One of the most undermining and dangerous forces in a department with multiple teams is the back-chatter that can occur as a result of offense, whether that be real or perceived. If you are feeling offended, raise it with your team leader or go straight to the source. This provides opportunity for clarity and grace to be extended.
  3. Understand the role other teams contribute to the overall vision. We need leaders who work directly with youth, and others to get tasks done. Some use a skill to lead, others use time and presence. We need both cre-atives and rel-atives to serve God as his body with many parts.   (Read 1 Corinthians 12 for a refresher!)
  4. Celebrate every success, no matter the team. Whether it is a group, worship, events, schools or missions leader sharing their story, remember that their success is our success, and any success that your youth ministry has is always for God’s glory.   (Read 1 Corinthians 3 for a refresher!)

What have you found helps avoid siloing in your department?

A printable version of this article can be found here: Avoiding Leadership Silos

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About Gavin Brown

I am a Youth Pastor working with students in Alice Springs, the heart of Australia. I have a passion for discipleship, equipping people to discover, live out, and multiply their faith every day, while simultaneously attempting to navigate the unique subculture of being a nerd that loves extreme sports.

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