The Drain of Unhappy teams

 

traveling-in-londonLeading an unhappy team is an exhausting thing if you care about people. No leader revels in a grumbling, unhappy, uncooperative work force.

If “the joy of The Lord is your strength” then an unhappy environment will surely sap the strength out of you! I’ve been there… Exhausted, drained, weary. You’ve got to get out of that place to move forward!

While team unhappiness can be a leaders fault, there are many reasons a team can grow unhappy:

1. People. There are people that light up the room, and those that bring dark. Unhappy teams are often caused by people conflict. Adjust teams if things can’t be ironed out and a team member is making people unhappy.
2. Wrong roles. People grow unhappy if they are doing something they are not good at.
3. Busyness. Over stretching is a cause of the grumpy work place or church. Encourage people to make work sustainable and only take on things they can truly do alongside other commitments.
4. Petrol carriers. When there are difficulties to face, imagine the issues are a fire…Are there people on the team that carry petrol and others that carry water? Some people stir mole hills into mountains, while others have great capacity to eat up difficulties and smooth things over. Promote water carriers, address or remove the drama queens (and forgive all my mixed metaphors!).
5. Change. Change is unavoidable if you are alive, but some people hate it. Some teams have to go through unhappy times to find good new pastures. Endure & embrace inevitable transitions.
6. Attack. In the case of church teams, remember the Church is the most important organisation, family and activity on planet earth. It is the hope of the world as she carries the Gospel. All the ugly armies of hell will attack the church like no other team. People step from business to church and wonder why life becomes a slog. The Church at work has an enemy that no school teacher, doctor or businessman has! Learn to pray as never before if your team is involved in ministry.

Leaders cannot “make” someone happy, but there a several things we can do as leaders

1. Clarify the vision. People work happier for vision than duty or money.
2. Provide the tools. Make sure the equipment works to ease frustrations.
3. Be there. Todays generation likes great connection with their leaders. Face to face is vital. Create sub-leadership level if you can’t provide this to everyone. Unhappiness is common in growing churches, as original leaders literally do not have the time for everyone!
4. Have fun. Celebrate the staff and volunteers. Value people.
5. Give specific praise. Criticism is often very specific, while encouragement is general. “That was great” is all we might say. But tell them why and how it was good. It makes good things repeatable.
7. Provide training. Courses, conferences, books, experiences.
8. Ask if we are the problem. Let people vent if needed, get advice and help from more experienced people if the cause or cure is beyond you. Lord knows all true leaders have been there! It’s part of growing.

Finally, keep making good decisions to ease pressure and build out of problem seasons, and happiness will return. As sure as day follows night, God will help you through if you are willing to ask, listen & act!

Can you think of any other causes of unhappiness?

Comments

3 comments on “The Drain of Unhappy teams”
  1. Linda says:

    This is so timely both for a past church situation and a work institutional situation where I am and have been pivotal leader. My experience akin to what
    David said ‘ I am for peace but they are for war ‘ it’s been draining . I also realise my part in the dance and know that through it , it is yielding in my me the fruit of righteousness. Finally, I think in many church situations it is the spirit of religion and rejection at work , when leaders neglect their pastoral office, are not available for the flock , take comments and suggestion personally and because a climate of openness is not encouraged rather seen as the individual challenging authority.

  2. SUE says:

    very good post!

  3. Rob p says:

    So true other things I find are the lack of real discussion, openness and honesty. Having clear goals of how you are going to get from A to B breed team work

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