Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course 5, Lesson 26
Developing Teams That Help Their Members Emotionally When Necessary
Copyright 2001 Dick Wulf
People have feelings. Most of the time those emotions help. It is useful to have team members who get excited about new challenges or angry enough to solve problems or sad when something hurts another team member.
But, sometimes team members struggle with life - and emotions get overwhelming. A team member can feel like giving up when some team responsibility becomes very difficult. Sometimes team members get angry with one another and become destructive to the team’s efforts. I could go on and on with examples.
The successful team helps its team’s members with emotional struggles that impede progress toward the team purpose.
For example, if a team member’s lack of self-confidence is getting in the way of performance, for the team’s good and every member’s benefit, the team should try to help before sending the person to get counseling. When teams struggle to help a low self-esteem member, they can actually help that person quite a bit. And, when they do, they help themselves as well.
Let’s keep working with the example of the team with a member who is good at a job but lacks confidence and hesitates to act in a timely and/or assertive manner. The team leader should ask the team to address the person’s lack of belief in himself or herself in a team meeting, right in front of the person. (Few like to be talked about behind their backs.) With a team that has not tackled helping someone with personal performance before, the team leader might say something like, “I’ve heard many of you mentioning that you wished Jake believed in his skills more. I think the team can help him. Why not talk to him and see what you can do to help and encourage him?” Then the team leader stays silent for as many seconds or minutes it takes for the team to think of what to say and how to go about helping.
For the team that has already helped a team member with a task-related personal problem before, the team leader would not say anything in order to see if the team would begin helping without being coached. If the team did not take up the ball to run with it, the team leader might say, “As you all know it is the team’s responsibility to help any member having trouble being successful on the team. You need everyone to function as well as he or she can. There is someone who needs your help believing in himself. Why don’t you put your heads together on this now and see if the team can be of help.” (Note, it is not said as a question.) The team leader then stays silent and lets the team take it from there. If the team leader needs to encourage the team, he or she says something like, “You have done this before and done a very fine job.”
Being singled out like that is not as embarrassing as you might think. Doubting one’s abilities and letting the team down is far more embarrassing. And, there is no end in sight. If it is embarrassing, it will be so only until the team shows concern and begins to help. For the few who have trouble accepting help, it is a team leader’s task to ask the team to help the person see that taking help is a smart thing and very biblical. The team leader can also talk to the individual and say something like, “The team wants to help you. They can help you be a more valuable team member.”
Next: Developing Teams That Help Their Members Functionally When Necessary
Copyright 2012 Dick Wulf, Colorado, USA