Posts Tagged ‘unity’

enemy of unity

Whether you are leading a business, a competitive team or whatever your context for unity might be, your team is a big deal.  Teams lacking in unity rarely gain any sort of momentum, and will either fail or live in the misery of mediocrity.

A couple of years ago Dave Ramsey unpacked what he calls The Five Enemies of Unity on an Entreleadership webcast: 

Poor Communication: If one half of your team doesn’t know what the other half of your team is doing, or only a few know what’s really going on, you have communication issues.  Providing timely information about what is going on throughout your organization allows your entire team to have clarity, accept challenges and celebrate wins together.

Gossip: I like how Ramsey’s team handles gossip: the first time it happens, you get sat down and warned, the second time it happens you are fired.  They have a policy of “handing negatives up, sending positives down.”  This policy has a great ring to it, but effective implementation of that policy requires you to handle the negatives when they come up quickly, and effectively.  Responsive leadership kills gossip every time.

Sanctioned Incompetence: When one team member struggles, the entire team struggles.  When a team leader ignores the obvious shortcomings of a team member they send a message that says performance doesn’t matter.  When performance doesn’t matter, people begin to question why they are working as hard as they do.  Acknowledging, and addressing performance issues (whether through training, reassignment, or termination) ensures your team will function at a high level.

Unresolved Disagreements: Letting issues smolder under the surface will kill your team.  As a leader, you need to kill the elephants in the room whenever they creep up by addressing issues head on.  One uncomfortable conversation can spare your team years of dysfunction.

Lack of Shared Purpose: If your team is not headed the same direction, you really don’t have a team.  Being committed and enthusiastic about your vision, mission, and strategies help keep your team stay on the same page and moving in the same direction.

Where have YOU seen the enemies of unity wreak havoc?

Written by Jim Shearer for Leading Hearts: the Spirit Ranch Blog; http://spiritranch.us/theenemiesofteamunity

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We are all interconnected and we have responsibility for each other.

This was the interpretation of the Xhosa word, ubuntu, offered near the start of a short, inspiring interview with photographer Betty Press by NPR a few weeks ago.  Then I ran across this proverb.

An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits.  When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.

When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: “UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

Wow.., until I heard the NPR interview and came across this proverb, I had two impressions of ubuntu: (1) I Am Because We Are as the 2008 documentary film narrated, and produced by Madonna; and (2) as the computer operating system based on the Linux open source software.

I now know UBUNTU started long before the software company and that in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are.”  I just wonder how our society would respond  if our tribes lived as the proverb above suggests?

By Christopher Linder July 30, 2009 -www.urbanfaith.com

President Obama reads letters from the public, as he sits at his desk in the Treaty Room Office in the Private Residence. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza, 2009.)

Now that we’ve all had a chance to settle down and let this most recent and unfortunate situation fade into the mists of past news cycles, I just wanted to humbly offer a few words of advice. In the future, please refrain from telling the truth about racial situations when asked. Clearly some of us in America aren’t quite ready for it yet. In fact, many are still trying to come to grips with the fact that you got elected in the first place.

Now, between you and me, we both know that the existence of your presidency doesn’t erase the centuries-long tradition of racism in America. Many of us — or our parents and grandparents — can still remember the days when segregation was an institution and a daily fact of life … not just a word waved around in the month of February.

You ran on the promises of hope, change, and a unified America. When I saw you speak at the Democratic Convention in 2004, I thought to myself, there’s the man who should be leading the country … and the thought was so incredibly far-fetched at the time. Even after you announced your candidacy, it seemed impossible to even dream that it would actually result in having you as our President. When Joe Biden uttered those ill-chosen words, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy …” we knew what he was trying to say, but it underscored the delicacy of the racial situation these days.

But you have to admit that we’ve certainly come a long way in these past few years, though I know we’re not there yet. However, in these critical early months of your administration, it’s important that you recognize the need for the masses to hold on to their warm, fuzzy feelings about your victory last November — not to mention their need to keep their racial blinders firmly in place. Is the danger of being stopped for “driving while Black” still a reality in 2009? Of course not! And do young Black men and women still get watched more closely in the store than their White counterparts? No! That is all completely behind us! Let’s move on; after all, slavery was a long time ago. We’re equal now!

Sure, we’ll hear the reports of the occasional group of school kids turned away from a swimming pool in the Philly suburbs … but that wasn’t a racial issue, that pool was simply too crowded. And we know that the situation with Professor Gates had nothing to do with race (not in this day and age). If Professor Gates would’ve just taken a deep breath and showed the proper respect to Sergeant Crowley, understanding that police officers seldomly treat people differently based on the color of their skin, there would be no need for your beer summit today.

Let us continue to believe that racism is dead in America, and that racial profiling is no longer an issue in our cities. Be patient with us, Mr. President … perhaps in a few years we’ll be able to engage in open, honest dialogues about race and racism. But for now, let’s just keep it our little secret. Give my best to Michelle and the kids.

Sincerely, Christopher Linder, Color-Blind in Atlanta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, CHRISTOPHER LINDER

Christopher Linder lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Rozlyn and their two daughters. A graduate of Judson University, he divides his time between writing, computer programming, and procrastinating. He is a professional web developer for churches, small businesses, and individuals. Says Chris, “I am a child of God who realizes that now, 30 years after being born again, I am still just beginning to learn how to walk.” He can be reached at Chris@iLinder.com.