(This is part 8 in the “There’s a Me in Team” series. Read Part 7 here.)
If you don’t know what “abdicate” means, read Part 1 “When the Me in Your Team Abdicates” first, and then study the lower left quadrant of the Support Challenge Matrix.
Last time I said I’d touch on some practicalities with what to do when abdicating takes place on your team. When the Me in Team stops bringing either support or challenge, what can be done? It depends.
How to Address the Abdication
1. When the Abdicator is Me. Sometimes a good look at the matrix reminds me that I’ve taken my foot off the gas in one of my circles of influence. Not long ago I realized that I truly had been abdicating in my Community sphere, although no one else would have noticed. I had not been doing any volunteering, so I prayed and gave it some thought. Not long after that a governmental official approached me about an opportunity to serve a much-neglected segment of our population in a meaningful way. I joined a task force and am now giving some quality time to this venture.
If your abdicating has notably affected others, you can apologize. Perhaps to a family member. If they understand the language of the Support Challenge Matrix you can say, “I need to apologize. I’ve been abdicating . You deserve better than that, please forgive me.” This act of humility is also an act of accountability, because it’s stated publicly.
2. When the Abdicator is Someone Else. Sometimes you’re not the abdicator, but you’re aware of who might be. I’m thinking of a famous Bible passage where the prophet Nathan approached King David (who like most of us had bounced all around the Support Challenge Matrix) and said, “You are the man!” He wasn’t high-fiving him, he was rebuking him for abdicating. See 2 Samuel 12 HERE for the complete story.
When you approach someone, do it with humility and fortitude. If they know the language of the Support Challenge Matrix, it’s so much easier, and they’ll be much more likely to engage in constructive dialog.
A Common Language
Which Leads Me to My Concluding Point. No matter who the Abdicator is, it all goes so much better with paper to point toward. Teach the matrix to one another, and make it part of your team culture to be a place of high support and high challenge. It’s not always easy, but it is easier (and more effective) than anything I’ve seen before.