Every team, ministry or group is faced with challenges or problems at some point. This is the nature of working with imperfect people and situations that are beyond our control. What can you do to address these times best? Here are four important questions to help move toward a successful resolution.
What is the “real” problem?
The reason “real” is in quotations is because many times, “problems” stem from wrong perceptions. There may not be a “real” problem but because of a lack of communication (which would be the “real” problem) people have ideas, misconceptions and unsettled feelings. When feelings, thoughts or comments tend toward negativity it is an indication that there needs to be quick assessment of expectations and communication. Finding the “real” problem is the consummate task of the leader and asking this question first and often can alleviate other issues down the road.
What has happened/ not happened?
Promises made need to be promises kept. Struggles within a group or team may stem from certain things happening or not happening. This could be from the wrong expectations of follow through. Many times there are lots of things promised at the outset of a venture but then once enthusiasm dies, so does the team. Returning to goals, values, mission and vision statement can help in evaluating if the right or wrong things have happened.
Why do we exist?
The mission/vision statements are important for answering this question. If people can’t articulate what those are with passion and wholehearted belief, there is going to be struggle. Taking people back to this foundation can help revive dying teams and restore dispassionate people. Energy has to flow from this foundation and the leader has to constantly remind the people of these values. Where there is a constant flow of “problems” or fights, one can easily ascertain that the focus has been lost. Taking them back to the foundational level will help sort issues and address issues. It may also weed out people who no longer believe in the vision or direction.
Where are we going?
Everyone wants to live a life of meaning and purpose. Giving people a sense of direction and belief in the team again is paramount. By communicating often what the end result or dream come true is, will inspire the team/people and compel them to move past struggles and hardships. Passionate leaders breed passionate followers. Everyone knows that anything worth having will be accompanied by challenges and difficulties, but they will not endure without a vision for the future (Proverbs 29:18). This vision must emanate from the leader.
Struggles within a team are natural and inevitable but the leader who asks these questions and supplies great and meaningful answers will go far in not only dissolving the current situations and preventing future ones.