Teams Must Play by the Same Set of Rules

Is your team on the same page in their behaviors and actions?

Summary
Transcript

Mark Lutz, pastor of growth and healing at Vineyard Cincinnati, explains the discrepancies that can exist among teams when its members aren’t playing by the same set of rules.

“We're not always playing by the same set of rules,” explains Mark, noting that, as leaders, we must figure out our problem areas and adjust. “Once we figure out we're not playing by the same set of rules, we calm down a little bit, and then we start to clue in and we can identify, ‘So where is the discrepancy? Where are we operating under different guidelines?’ And it gives you an idea of where you're going to have to speak into and what you're going to have to address.”

Watch the video to learn more from Mark about how to play by the same rules as a team and how doing so helps in dealing with difficult people.

I think when dealing with difficult people, one of the things that might surprise us about what's making this interaction difficult is that we're not always playing by the same set of rules. Rules that we normally play by. I say what I mean, I mean what I say, I'm going to do what I say I'm going to do, I say yes to what I agree with and I say no to what I'm not in agreement with. I know that good people can make mistakes and if someone does, I readily give forgiveness and then move forward. If I'm the one that makes a mistake, I take ownership for it and make amends.

Those are the rules. Most people would hear that and go, "Well, of course, that's just common sense. Everyone does that." We'd be surprised to find that there are folks who play by a different set of rules like, "Never admit guilt of anything. Blame the other person, blame circumstances. Have an emotional eruption to distract from the facts. Blame the person who's bringing the accusation against you. Wait until enough time has passed, memories get foggy and rewrite history to your advantage. And pay no attention to whether these rules are working or not, we're just going to persist with doing them." And when you hear that, you think, "Well, that's crazy." But then a person comes to your mind and you go, "That's what was going on with that person. They were a different set of rules and what they said was not what they meant, and there were other things going on."

Once we figure out, we adjust our expectations. We're not playing by the same set of rules, we calm down a little bit, and then we start to clue in and we can identify, "So where is the discrepancy? Where are we operating under different guidelines?" And it gives you an idea of where you're going to have to speak into and what you're going to have to address.

Once you come upon a realization, "Hey, we're not operating by the same rules," it's going to lead you to one of those direct, confronting conversations that most of us don't enjoy having. And there'll be a temptation to maybe finesse it. "I'm going to talk around it, just try to influence them." I found really the best way is head-on. "So while it seems like we're operating from different principles here, it seems like this is what I'm thinking, this is what you're thinking." If someone is having a moment, it's not their best, something just triggered them, and they were just having a moment, a lot of times, you can bring that person back.

But if this is a way of being, a way of doing that this person is committed to, you may not be able to persuade them from doing that. But what you can do is you can surface clearly, for you and the organization, "This is what we're up against." And then, I think when the rest of the team sees you take decisive action to say, "Well, we can't be operating from different rulebooks," Folks will understand why that decision is made. No one likes to lose a team member because most team members have good attributes about them. But if there's an attribute that's really interfering with your ability to reach your objective, then that has to be addressed.

My old way of dealing with that was to just then forget and say, "Huh, I had the hard conversation, I'm going to ignore it. We're done." And sadly, most of the time, we don't change our behavior with one corrective conversation. I need more help than that and a lot of people I've worked with do too. So those ongoing conversations, they need to be had so we can check.

And celebrate progress because people will make progress. They may not make it all at a single jump, but I try to catch people succeeding and celebrate that with them first and then hold out a next step and keep urging them forward. And I will keep working with them as long as they're making progress. At the point they stop making progress and they're not really showing any enthusiasm, that's when I've got to start to evaluate, "Did I get enough improvement or is this one not going to come around?"
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Mark Lutz

Mark Lutz prepared for ministry at Cincinnati Christian University and studied counseling at Xavier University. First working for a Christian counseling center in Cincinnati, Mark learned how to integrate faith into clinical helping. ...

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