Monday, January 11, 2016

The Response

Problems will happen in ministry.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  I was thinking this morning about the ways we respond to problems on the staff/team.

The Blanket

I’m guilty as charged!  Blankets are a great thing when you are cold.  They are wonderful to wrap up in on a cold winter rainy night and watch a movie.  Blanket responses aren’t so good.

Sometimes on a team or staff someone does something that is wrong, this person says or does something that hurts someone.  Perhaps they just don’t perform up to a pre defined expectation.  So the blanket response is to tell the whole team, “from now on . . . . “   Or we create an unnecessary policy that is born out of frustration that is aimed at one individual but affects the whole team.

The problem is we address everyone as if everyone is guilty when we have people on the team who are doing what is expected.  I have done this too often.  One person is consistently late so I send an email to the entire to remind them of the importance of being on time,  

The best thing we can do is to use the situation as a moment to help the individual learn from their mistake and help them grow as a leader by helping them overcome whatever it is that caused the problem.  Instead of seeing it as a “team problem” we need to address the individual.  Make that individual stronger in leadership and your team will greatly benefit in the long run.

The Knee Jerk

Have you ever responded to an issue/problem/event with a knee jerk reaction?  For some of us this is a “normal” response because of our personality, because we are emotional creative types.  We just say or do because of how we feel without taking a moment to step back and think.  Then later we think about how we responded and think to ourselves, “did I really say that?”   I know on many occasions I have made a decision or said something responding immediately when the situation called for some thought and reflection before making the decision.

My gauge now (and I’m not perfect at it) is this, I ask this question:
“Is this a true emergency that requires an immediate response?”  In other words, if no one is in physical danger, if the issue won’t send someone to hell, than I can step back and think a bit before responding to the event or issue at hand.

The Blind Eye

The situation calls for attention.  The staffer, or team member, says or does something that is whack.  The Blind Eye response pretends that nothing ever happened.  Looks the other way as if everything is okay.  The problem is everything is not okay and there bubbling under the surface is an issue that may come back to bite you or erupt like a volcano.

This is the easiest response because truthfully none of us enjoy confrontation.  The problem though is the elephant sits in the middle of the room while everyone pretends the elephant isn’t there but at the same time can’t stand the stink of the elephant.  Eventually this “stink” hurts the morale of the team which directly influences our ministry to students.

The next time a situation arises I encourage us to step back and take some time to think the problem through and think about the best way to handle the problem.  Maybe even seek out the advice of someone in ministry that you respect.

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