October 31, 2016

Creating Community Part 6 – Perilous Pitfalls


I call them the Perilous Pitfalls.

Last week’s look at Corporate Celebration and being present for one another during hard times rounded out our look at how to create community on your team. This week’s post takes a tough look at an unwanted byproduct that can sometimes rear its ugly head.  I call them the Perilous Pitfalls. Yes, even something as positive and helpful as community can have a destructive side if not well managed.

Let’s take a look at a few things you need to be on the lookout for:

  • Entitlement – Community only works when everyone is engaged and plays an active role. If the focus becomes forming community for the sake of community, it can lead to some feeling entitled. We form community for the sake of the people involved—each of them is important. When certain people expect to be served (even coddled), then entitlement has taken over positive community.  Call it out as soon as you see it.
  • Dependency – Interdependency is a good thing, dependency is not. If you see team members free-loading on the rest of the team, you must stop it immediately. Again, everyone must play their parts and serve each other sacrificially.
  • Lack of Boundaries – Set good boundaries on celebration and time together. Go back to the first point, a powerful purpose. We are here for a reason, and that must remain the goal. It’s fine to play hard, as long as you work equally hard.
  • Failure to call out – When there are problems, conflict, or any other potentially destructive problem, hit it head on. You are not doing yourself any favors by glossing over issues. Strong community is about being real with each other, even in the hard stuff.

Dave Ramsey uses a term I love: “sanctioned incompetence.”  This occurs when you refuse to address a destructive habit or lack of performance. In doing so, you are actually enabling that habit or problem to continue. You have sanctioned the “incompetence” in your team. When you see this occurring, especially if you are the leader, you must address it immediately. The health of your community is at stake. Conflict is not a bad thing; not dealing with conflict head on can be disastrous. Create and encourage an environment in which issues are addressed—leader to team member or team member to team member.  Competent leadership will make your community stronger.

By Russell Sarratt

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