Subject: Centre Quarterly

Centre Quarterly 
a newsletter update on
strengthening effectiveness across
the borders of culture
in a borderless world
August 2019

Faithfulness in the Horizontal
Every team I have ever been part of has had one thing in common. Depending on context, the team may use words of profits, causes or souls, but what they all have in common is that they have a visionary destination. 
With any team, whether domestically diverse or internationally complex, there exists a question on how to effectively reach their visionary destination, so they can remain true to their organizational, faith and personal convictions, while also simultaneously being able to adjust to and learn from those who come from overlapping cultural and other belief systems.
It seems that many people carry a mental list on what they think are the biggest factors working against team effectiveness. I carry a mental list too.

Early in my work life, I was taught by a mentor that it is easier to critique than it is to create. Now that I am a little older, I would add that it is also easier to disagree with others than it is to just accept others for who they are.

In this 21st century, the difference in meaning between the usage of the words "acceptance" and "agreement" seems blurred. To accept others does not mean to agree with them. Rather, acceptance is the ability to communicate a value of worth to another person. 

I personally feel that not being able to fully accept others, what I call "faithfulness in the horizontal", is perhaps the biggest factor that works against team effectiveness.  
My experience has shown me that it will be hard to consider the interests of others if you disagree with them. However, it will be impossible to seek the interests of others if you don't accept them as people who have dignity and worth. 

So, my own mental list for teams ranks not being personally committed to other team members, or put differently not being faithful in the horizontal with each other, at the top of the list as a factor for ineffective teams.

Centre for Leadership Effectiveness LLC
Dedicated to strengthening performance of individuals, teams, and organizations through building deeper competencies to reconcile dilemmas faced in our culturally complex world for the following contexts:
cross-cultural operations of public, private  & non-profit organizations
domestic & international Christian multicultural ministries
Frank Zauflik MA, MBA
Executive Director
Frank has an unique combinattion of for-profit, not-for-profit & faith-based professional experiences, advanced academics & certifications, with 
extensive trans-national living.
Building up your return on investment through integrating research based Cultural Intelligence (CQ) &  Everything DiSC Personality assessments + training + coaching + consulting to leverage your soft skills into hard results.
Now what?
For teams, it can seem that problems will rarely be about the facts. Rather, problems encountered seem to be more frequently about the differences found in meanings, feelings and interpretations held by the various individuals on the team.

So, it is easy to say "let's just accept and value each other". However, actually doing that in team environments is not always an easy thing to do.

The existence of disagreements within the team is not really the problem. That is because the experience of seeking to reconcile disagreements will often be the foundation for future innovation found by teams.

But disagreements do carry the risk of influencing how you think about the other person. Sometimes the disagreement can just be a friendly argument. But when disagreement moves from argument into conflict, disagreement will then have the potential to lead to dislike of the other person, maybe anger toward the other person, or even possibly hatred of others. When that happens, the situation will have become toxic.

You see, in situations of conflict, we have a human instinct to fight back. In these moments, our behavior will be highly individualistic. Our words and actions will be about our own self-interests, our own dignity, our own self-worth. In moments of conflict, our individualistic human instinct tells us that what matters most is our own well-being, not the survival of the relationship nor the worth or dignity of the other person.

There are many techniques useful for conflict management. However, fundamentally reconciliation across team members in conflict will not happen without a change in your attitude about others. Changing your attitude towards others is not easy, but it is possible if you apply intentional conscious thought to the issue. 

I use the following tactic for myself when in the middle of conflict. Maybe you will find it helpful too. 

When faced with people I don't agree with, people I don't like, or maybe even hate for some reason, I refer to a list of questions that helps me to reframe my own thoughts toward that other person. Reframing my thoughts through the use of these questions hopefully leads me to have a new heart that allows for reconciliation of the conflict.

The list of questions comes from a Biblical verse. Now if you are not Biblically oriented, please don't stop reading, because I feel the verse has universal application, regardless of personal faith convictions. The words comes from the fourth chapter of the New Testament book of Philippians, verse 8:

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."   

When in the middle of conflict with others, I ask myself:

- How is that other person noble?

- How is that other person lovely?

- How is that other person admirable?

- How is that other person excellent?

- How is that person praiseworthy?

- How does thinking about "such things" change my heart toward that other person?

I hope you find my tactic useful for being faithful in the horizontal when you're in your own situations of team conflict.   
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