Yesterday, after practice 29 with a team of ballers, one of the leaders asked me how to best reach one of her teammates. My mind immediately went back to a freakin’ magic teaching from Pastor Rich Nathan at Vineyard Columbus. Many moons ago, Rich reminded his congregation that most humans are hurting most of the time and they have a hard time hearing when they are turned away from you. So, he wisely instructed, don’t chase ‘em with your words. If they are turned away and especially if they are moving away, don’t waste your breath. You see, friend, the norm is to amp up the volume to make up for the distance or divide. Does not work.
So, when you have a teammate you are trying to turn up, start with a simple question. First, find the right time and place (the more private the better), then ask them if they want your help. Don’t listen to the words, instead, read the body. The body, you see, doesn’t lie. Watch for their stance and arms to signal whether the mind is open or closed. You don’t even have to be a master of body language to catch this vibe. All it takes is for you to be prepared. Calm your mind. Breathe deeply and relax your body. Approach them and make sure you are open yourself. Humans mirror emotion more than any animal. Give them a positive mirror. Assume the best and humbly ask them if they want your help, for whatever it’s worth. Remember, they are most likely a wounded animal and hiding their hurt behind their attitude. See them as a hurting human instead of a bad apple. Be kind. Start slow. Tell them the hard truth and don’t make it personal, instead, tie it to performance. Help them see how their change could turn up their/our performance. Fight to improve performance, not prove a point.
Yesterday a few teams got better by upping the level of dialogue. Are your teams learning to talk, leader? I mean come on man, we know they already know how to trash talk. Are you teaching them how to talk truth, the kind that makes you miserable on the way to setting you free? Yesterday a team of ballers learned some hard truth about conflict. They, just like you, don’t get better by what they learn. We only get better by doing better.
Stop “thinking about it,” friend. Do more. It only hurts for a short while. Good…