Asking questions is vital to a team’s success. Knowing when to ask them is an art.
We have all been in those brainstorming meetings where we are trying our best to be brave and share an idea we know is only half baked but we think that if we can just get it out it might spin off into something great. So we take big gulp and go for it only to be shut down by “that guy”.
Or worse, we are working to develop a ministry or a project inside of your church or organization and you are up against the wall. You are giving it all you got, doing all you know how, and “that guy” walks up and does that thing that makes you shrink, discouraged, or worse….quit.
So how do you make sure you are not becoming “that guy”? It starts by identifying the characteristics you need to avoid.
- You lead with the negative not the opportunity. Don’t do this.
- Your focus is more on what is not working with the situation your group is working on, especially when you don’t have any real ideas of your own about what might be successful. If you are going to shoot something down you better have a better idea to support and follow up with.
- You speak for people you have never spoken to about an idea. Don’t assume or presume you know what people want, like, or feel. If you don’t have data don’t pretend you do.
- Drift towards the assumption that creativity is more expensive, margin diminishing, or complicated than doing the practical thing.
- Count on repeating or reusing an idea rather than conceiving a new one.
- Once you get the negative bus out of the bus stop you never shut up and keep fueling the fire.
- You talk over people or constantly interrupt people.
- You don’t trust people to do what they have been hired to do.
- You show up late or don’t engage in the process. This REEKS of entitlement. Respect others and the process.
- You always have to be in an aggressive posture as opposed to a creative posture. No one wants to fight to share the idea they are doing their best to be brave and share.
- You allow your insecurity to undermine your leadership, voice, or opportunity to contribute.
Are you “that guy”? Do you have this person in your life? If so you have a responsibility to adjust yourself or have a hard conversation and coach them out of this posture. Or, when necessary, stop inviting them to the meeting.
You can’t let this guy destroy team moral, sidetrack innovation, or prevent the next best idea for your church to be shared!
What do you do when your leader seems to be that guy? It feels like you can’t say anything because his authority takes priority and it would be dishonorable to disagree at all but you basically sit quietly in those meetings because you are not heard?
Pull them aside and ask to talk to them about this! The hard conversation will help you both.