Dealing with Difficult Team Members

difficult praise dance teamsThis is the fourth of a five part series on dealing with team related issues. If you haven’t read the previous issues. Make sure to do that.

All of the questions so far have related to team leaders. Today’s question is from a team member. It’s a question many people can relate to, whether on a dance team or in a small group. The details may differ, but the heart of the question is the same:

How do you deal with team members who dominate discussions?

How should you respond when someone rides roughshod over your questions or ideas?

Should you speak up during practice? If you don’t, will your ideas ever be heard?

I drew heavily from Lynn Hayden’s book, Team Terrificus in answering this question. I highly encourage you to get it, if you don’t have it.

Here’s her specific dilemma:

You are on a dance team and there is another member who interrupts when you’re talking to the dance leader and turns that leaders attention to them.  You don’t get to finish what you were saying. Other times, you get a vision for the ideal that your leader is explaining, so you ask a question so you can get a better understanding, when a team member interrupts with her own ideal of that vision. The leader runs with the ideal never letting you finish that particular conversation. How do you handle this?
Having a team member who has a tendency to dominate can try your patience.  Not taking offense when you are overlooked takes genuine humility from the Spirit.
You can help your leader by saving your own questions and suggestions for a time after practice. Sometimes, when the leader is sharing his/ or her vision or choreography and one person interjects to ask a clarifying question or to share ideas, it opens a floodgate of questions and comments that might eventually have been addressed. If you can hold off until your leader has finished or even wait to talk to him/her after rehearsal, you help create a more peaceful atmosphere in rehearsal.
Also, do a quick heart check to make sure your frustration isn’t coming from pride. Can you lay down your desire to be heard? Trust the Lord to bring about His purposes through you. I’ve seen this principle hold true in many areas of my life. When I’ve had a burning desire to put forward my own idea, plan, take on an issue, but the door has seemed closed to do this. When I have taken the issue to God in prayer and laid it at his feet, He has surprised me by. To me, this is an example of James 1:xxx, “Humble yourself under the Mighty hand of God, and He will lift you up in due time.
If, over time, and after you have prayed about it, the issue persists and so do your feelings, take your dance leader out for coffee or lunch. Share with you how this person’s behavior is affecting you and how you feel about it. Be respectful and be vulnerable. It is possible that what you are feeling she also has also noticed. It may be that by you humbly sharing your heart about it, you will validate what she already sensed but needed confirmation on in order to act. Ask her if there is anything you can do to help.
Read tomorrow to hear some practical ideas about how to encourage men to participate on the team. These ideas have come from more experienced leaders than I and from other men themselves. You’ll go away with some ideas you can use.


Helping the Child who Loves Performance over Worship

performance vs worshipHave you ever had a student on your team that didn’t seem to get the heart of worship?

Have you had a student who struggles to catch on but isn’t willing to work to learn?

Have you had a student whom you have questioned whether she should continue on the team?

Read on to hear about my experience with a student like that and how God led me to respond.

You have a team member, a young girl who loves to dress up and dance in front of people, but she doesn’t really seem to get worship yet.  She resists working hard in rehearsal. As a result, when dancing, she didn’t know her part well. She has to watch others and appears nervous and self conscious. Even so, she is eager to be on the team.

I had this happen several years ago and was encouraged to discourage this child from participating on the worship team. I considered that, but because she really wanted to be on the team and because her mother, who was also on the team, had such a heart for worship that she really sought to impart to her daughter, I felt I needed to try to work with her.

My experience with this child prompted me to be more deliberate with my whole team in calling them to worship and minister and preparing them to do this. I clarified my expectations of dancers in our covenant (see earlier post).

In addition, I increased the time I spent praying for and with my team and the time we spent preparing spiritually for dance presentations. I asked everyone to be reading scripture daily and meditating on the words to the songs. I was more intentional about keeping the vision before the team, a vision to minister and worship so that God can work in people’s hearts.

I also guarded my own thoughts towards this child. I would say to myself over and over, “___________ is going to be worshipful and graceful when we dance.”

On the practical side, I adjusted my rehearsal times so that the children’s rehearsals were shorter than the adults, and sometimes were separate. I spoke to her mother and asked her to make sure the girl had a book to read if she needed to stay for the adult portion. Sometimes I gave her a task to do to be helpful during this time, like holding the camera while we recorded portions of the dance. And, finally, I had a mother who offered to bring a simple healthy snack to rehearsals. Giving the children a short break and food to eat, helped her stamina.

dance team solutions
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This child really grew in her understanding of worship and ministry. In addition, she began taking a dance class outside of dance team, which helped her technique. The biblical principle for me was love, which bears all things and believes all things.

A fantastic resource for team related issues is the book Team Terrificus, by Lynn Hayden. She asks questions like this and many more that will help you solve team related issues by practicing the fruit of the Spirit and common sense wisdom.

How about you? How have you responded to children (or adults) on your team who seem to enjoy performing, but do not yet have a heart for worship?

Please share in the comments section (at the beginning of the post).

Read tomorrow to hear how do deal with a difficult teammate.