Working on a Dream




Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3 Basic Skills to Help Your Team NOT Kill One Another


I can remember watching two classmates fighting with one another one day while in college. It was over the meaning of a Bible verse.  And yours truly was the leader of this study.  It is funny, people tell me that I have a knack at getting a rise out of people...I usually disagree with them just to prove their point...

OK, so the point of this post is that there is a term that the military uses called, "friendly fire."  This is when people from the same team start pointing the guns at each other and firing!  Needless to say, this is a situation that every leader wants to avoid
Below is some advice on why this happens and what you can do to avoid it.  The three steps are:
I. Remember...where your team came from:

Go back and remember your group's common goal(s) that you all share...or did at one point.  This is a good habit to get into and needs to be done on a regular basis.  This is what brought you all together in the first place.  A really effective way to accomplish this can be by telling stories of "old times" and the sacrifices that individuals had made to get to the present. 

II. Remind...your team about its destination:

Look to the ultimate goal of your team, and work towards it.  This will help you stay focused and on target.  Many disputes are simply by people who lost their focus.  A good example of this is when churches split over immature issues like color of the carpeting in the hallways, what color the Sunday school rooms will be and should the pastor wear a suit or not? Hmmm.  Petty things like these actually rip churches apart.  Why?  They forgot their mission and main purpose.  Starting with and keeping the end as a reminder will help keep everyone on track. 

III. Read...the book:

I'm my case, it is the Bible.  In your case, it might be something different.  Let me be clear here, I am talking about things like manuals, vision & mission statements, or company policies.  These are guides that are really important for your workplace.  Think about it,  out of all the different elements that can be emphasized at your work place, somehow, it was those certain values that got elevated above the rest.  These are important.  Know them.  Talk about them.  These are your friends and will help your team avoid unnecessary divisions.* 
*[Side note:  If you do not believe in these company standards they will not be your friend, they will be the exact opposite for you.]
-Acts 2: 44- “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”

"As iron sharpens iron, so shall one man sharpen another" -Proverbs 27:17-


Jason Dunn said...

So what about when you come to an impasse? A place where no one is listening at all. Is there wisdom in "shaking the sand from your sandals" and moving on?

Anthony K said...

Jason, this is a tough one. We will not be able to find a peaceful solution to all our problems.

I think the key is the heart of the person/people involved.

Humility is the essential ingredient when dealing with one another. Sadly, most folks just make their minds up beforehand and do not budge.

As for moving on, I would need to know more about the situation at hand. But there is definitly a time for "shaking the sand from your sandals" and moving on...

Anthony K said...

Jason, another thought is to have group norms. Norms can be set by the leader and the group and then agreed upon. After you all come together on norms, then you can keep the group accountable to what they said they would support.

I.e = We will listen and respect one another. If this was a norm, then in the future when folks are not listening and interupting others, then you can remind them of their prior commitment.
Just a suggestion...