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Appreciative Team Building


6 Resources
Appreciative Leadership: Building a Thriving Organization
This video explains positive psychology leadership and relational strategies to collaborate...
Appreciative Team Building: Positive Questions to Bring Out the Best of Your Team
This Appreciative Inquiry book helps foster a sense of team among co-workers with strategies...
Consultant Leanette Pokuwaah uses the Enneagram framework to explore healing, personality...
Gallup Strengths Center
Gallup provides the CliftonStrengths assessment tool for users to identify, understand, and...
This organization helps facilitate leadership skills through engaging activities and ropes...
This deck of cards helps facilitate team building through conversational games and follow up...

About the Contributor

Abby Miller

Abby Miller consults with congregations in northeast Indiana as part of her work with the Center for Congregations. With a focus in ministry leadership, Abby is also a consultant on CRG Chat and helps with social media.  

Appreciative Team Building

Many religious leaders are looking to foster a team-based atmosphere. There are numerous moving parts that perhaps have to work well together in order for a religious organization to be successful, including small group leaders, administrative members, staff members, and volunteers. How can religious leaders foster an environment of inclusion and team-building? That is where appreciative team-building can be helpful. There are numerous appreciative inquiry tools, including an appreciative inquiry worksheet, that can help religious leaders begin to learn more about this process. With access to appreciative inquiry for individuals, it is possible for religious leaders to better place themselves and the congregation in the best position possible to be successful.

So, what is appreciative team building? This refers to a process of change that usually awakens in individuals, enabling them to achieve their hopes, dreams, and aspirations along with the help of other members of the team. This is a specific area of team development. It can be good to establish strong foundations when it comes to learning dynamics, driven by the elevation of each individual team member’s strengths. When team members are able to work together, playing to their strengths while also covering for their weaknesses, it is possible for the whole to become greater than the sum of its parts. That is potentially why appreciative team-building and appreciative inquiry have become so popular among religious organizations.

Now, no one expects people to fully adopt this process overnight. Similar to other parts of running a successful religious organization, it might be important to focus on a culture of continuous improvement. Correctly implementing appreciative team building in a religious organization likely begins with a single step. Therefore, what do religious leaders need to know about appreciative inquiry? What are a few examples and questions that could be helpful when religious groups are trying to expand appreciative inquiry in their own congregations? Be sure to refer to the CRG to learn more about appreciative inquiry.

Appreciative Inquiry Examples

When it comes to appreciative inquiry, many people out there may be looking for examples of appreciative inquiry that can help guide them during this process. By taking a look at the steps of appreciative inquiry, it is possible to better understand appreciative inquiry examples.

In general, there are several steps that are likely involved in successfully implementing the appreciative inquiry model. The first step is to appreciate it. Also referred to as the “discovery phase”, many people will go through and look at “the best” in a single category. For instance, what is the best form of happiness?

The next part is innovating. Also referred to as the “dream” step, people who reach this milestone may now need to try and envision what is possible. How can this process be made better? What sorts of aspirations do we have?

After this, people often get to work on building the ideal that they envisioned during the prior step. Referred to as the “construction” or “design” step, what should it be? This question likely has to be answered in order to go forward with appreciative inquiry.

Finally, the last step is to execute with excellence. Also referred to as the “deploy” stage, this is where the idea is brought to life. Then, the religious group can sit back and appreciate their work.

Perhaps importantly, everyone may have to focus on an idea of continuous improvement. Appreciative inquiry is not going to be successfully deployed in a single day, and so, it can be good for everyone to work together and hold one another accountable. By asking the right questions and sticking to the process, it is possible for religious groups to get the most out of their appreciative inquiry idea. That way, the entire organization can move forward in a positive way. Remember that there are plenty of resources available to help religious leaders successfully implement this process, along with plenty of free resources available on the CRG.

Appreciative Inquiry Questions

As the name suggests, there are multiple appreciative inquiry questions that could prove helpful. By taking a look at an appreciative inquiry report, it is possible for religious leaders to develop several appreciative inquiry questions examples that could be helpful for members of their own congregation. It might also be helpful to administer an appreciative inquiry quiz from time to time. That way, members of the congregation and members of the leadership staff can see how they are doing.

It can be good for religious leaders to think carefully about what types of questions they are going to ask, as well as when they are going to ask them. When asking these questions, it may be key to also provide a bit of context. That way, people will be able to better understand why the question is being asked. A few questions that religious leaders might want to ask include:

How does this religious group bring out the best in you? This question can be important because it guides people to take a look at how much they have grown since they first joined the religious organization. Describe a high point during your time here. How did that make you feel? This encourages people to reflect on some of the best moments that they have had since joining the religious organization. That way, people might then feel compelled to generate more moments exactly like this. What have you learned about leadership since you first joined this religious organization? Appreciative inquiry is often meant to help people grow as leaders, and this type of question can help them do exactly that. What has been your biggest challenge to date? How did you respond to that challenge? This is another question that is designed to encourage emotional growth and can be incredibly important in helping build the next generation of religious leaders.

Clearly, there are multiple types of questions that religious leaders can ask. Religious leaders should perhaps also consider tailoring the questions they ask the individual, as everyone is different, and everyone has different goals. By asking the right questions, it is possible for religious leaders to help move members of the staff in the right direction.

Appreciative Inquiry Principles

What it comes to appreciative inquiry, it can be good to think about the top appreciative inquiry principles. By thinking carefully about appreciative inquiry systems thinking, it is possible for religious leaders to get the most out of this process. There are several principles that can be critical when it comes to the appreciative inquiry idea:

The first principle is called “constructionism”, which focuses on building people up instead of tearing them down. This can include the religious organization as a whole. The second principle is called “simultaneity”. The idea is that there are multiple positive things that can take place at the same time. The third principle is called “anticipatory”. It is likely always better to be proactive rather than reactive, and that is exactly what appreciative inquiry aims to teach people. The fourth principle is called “poetry”. The entire idea of appreciative inquiry is poetry in motion. Everyone has their different style, and every style can be valuable. Finally, the last principle is to “be positive”. With a positive outlook on life, it is possible for people to better approach everything with a sense of optimism, which can enable them to get the most out of every moment.

By thinking about these principles, every religious leader can perhaps leverage appreciative inquiry to the benefit of the congregation, and that is likely the ultimate goal of this entire process.

Appreciative Inquiry Diversity and Inclusion

There are numerous other areas of appreciative inquiry that may have to be addressed, as well. This includes appreciative inquiry diversity and inclusion. By taking a closer look at the inclusive strategic planning process, it is possible for the congregation to expand and include more people than it otherwise might. Appreciative inquiry can be tailored to meet the needs of people with different types of backgrounds. Therefore, religious leaders might want to think carefully about how they can help foster a feeling of diversity and inclusion among members of the congregation.

After all, the goal is likely for the congregation to attract as many people as possible. In order for religious leaders to successfully grow the congregation, they might have to reach out to people who might otherwise not be a part of their religious group. One of the ways to do this is to leverage diversity and inclusion during the appreciative inquiry process. How can religious leaders do exactly that? It can be good for religious leaders to think carefully about the specific types of questions they are going to ask, as well as what types of questions they can ask which might appeal to different backgrounds. By thinking about this ahead of time, members of the leadership team can help expand the application of appreciative inquiry.

Appreciative Inquiry Resources

Naturally, it can be challenging to try something for the first time, and appreciative inquiry is no different. Therefore, it can be helpful for religious leaders to know that there are plenty of resources available for them out there. This includes appreciative inquiry online resources. Even though a lot of people like to use appreciative inquiry paper resources, including an appreciative inquiry facilitation guide, there are plenty of other types of appreciative inquiry resources, as well. Every religious group is different, so religious leaders might benefit from taking advantage of every resource they have at their disposal, as the right resources for one religious group may not be the right resources for another.

For example, there are plenty of exceptional free resources available on the CRG. No matter what type of religious group might be present, there are resources there that they can apply. By taking a well-rounded approach to appreciative inquiry using the resources on the CRG, it is possible for religious leaders to elevate the entire congregation as a whole. Religious leaders may want to focus on creating a culture of continual growth for members of the staff, volunteers, and leadership team, and one of the most important resources that can help them do exactly that is the process of appreciative inquiry.

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