Dealing With Difficult Team Members – Part 2 – Coaching Session
Everybody who’s ever led a volunteer team knows that on a team of 10 volunteers there’s likely to be one odd person and you have to discern the degree of oddity. Is this just a kind of a quirk that people over time say, “Aw, you know he’s got that little quirkiness but you know everything else is good!” Or, here’s where the dividing line is, “Is this person going to over time repel every person on this volunteer team?” There’s a difference between a quirky person and a repeller.
So when I’m talking with our staff, I say, “Now most of you lead volunteer teams. You need to have a bunch of high-functioning people, mid-functioning people, you can have some low-functioning people, you can have a couple quirky people, you cannot keep repellers!” Repellers will chase… in order of their departure, who leaves first when a repeller is repelling? The highest functioning people! And the highest functioning people are going, “Why doesn’t the ministry leader deal with this person?!” And then after two or three months they go, “The highest person in charge isn’t going to deal with this repeller, I’m just going to back out”.
Then next the mid-functioning people, they back out, pretty soon only the low-functioning people and the repeller are left and then when the low-functioning people leave it’s you and the repeller. So rather than go through that entire war of attrition I just say you identify the repeller early on and you go, “Don’t… you must understand this is a very delicate team dynamic, we’re doing important stuff for God. Volunteerism has to have a relational payoff to it for people to stay enthusiastically engaged in it and you ding that relational pay off every time you show up so…” And then again back to Grenny’s crucial conversation, you have to sit down and be painfully specific… “You spread junk, you spread gossip and slander. You’re a motor mouth that creates dissension and all that”.
Titus 3:10… look at it sometime. Just gives you straight up warnings what to do, what is it? You all should know this verse, reject a fractious person after a first and second warning. Warning number one! You divide our team because you do this, this, this and this. You repel our team because you do this, this, and this”. “Sorry, I won’t do it again”. Warning two! “You’re doing it again! You do this again, this again, this again!” Show them Titus 3:10, scripture says if you continue to do this I’ve got to let you go. You know, just blame the Bible, I’m just doing my job, so you go, “Okay”.
Third time they come in and they still do it and say, “Hey, would you read Titus 3:10 to yourself, because the reason you’re being invited off this team is because after a first and second warning you kept the behaviours and the attitudes going. So if you want to quarrel with God’s word or find the Apostle Paul in heaven and beat him up, do it. But we are abiding by God’s Word”. And I watched high-functioning staff members stand idly by while repellers are destroying their teams. What do you do with that? It’s like… “Guys wake up! Wake up!” And they always repel the highest functioning volunteers first, and the only ones left will be the lowest functioning and then they’ll leave and then it’s just you and him.
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