One of the biggest things that we advocate here at RDS when it comes to communication and approaching league conflict is to assume good intent. That means that when someone approaches you or you get triggered by an action or behavior, you force yourself to assume that -- all things being equal -- the person that triggered you was just trying to help.
HERE'S AN EXAMPLE: You've been busting your hump behind-the-scenes trying to create a cohesive promotions plan for your league, but all of the jobs that you put out there come back unclaimed or unfinished. In order to combat the lack of league interest and help that you're receiving you have taken on several of the highest priority jobs yourself. (Sound familiar?) A league meeting rolls around and a newish skater stands up during open floor and starts talking about how her old league was great at promotions and she's brimming with ideas. What do you do?
Chances are good (if you're anything like me or the rest of humanity) you want to deliver a hard backhand to her jugular.
However, that stress and anger is on you, it's not about her. The assumption of good intent is important here. She may not even know that you are currently killing yourself as the Promotions Head or that 2 of the 3 ideas she's suggested are impossible in your town for whatever reason. Whoa, tiger...you have to curb your initial throat punch reaction and remember that she wants your league to succeed too.
Most people do have good intentions, particularly around things that they love.
But there's a corollary to the "assume good intent" rule that is even more important, especially if you serve in a leadership position in your league.
It's not enough for you to assume good intentions from others, you also have to make a commitment to DO NO HARM.
Whether you like it or not, if you hold a leadership position in your league, your words have more weight. So the first rule for tempering the weight of your words is to cope with negative emotions: anger, intimidation, disparagement, shame. Feeling these emotions is fine -- you're probably not a robot -- but when you release these emotions at others (even unintentionally) they have the impact of devaluing the other person.
And you know what happens when someone feels devalued? They won't work for you.
YOU represent the league. So really, they won't work for the league. Or the team. And they'll build up resentment and...well, you can imagine where that's going.
So great. I can't even let one little thing slip out when I'm angry? Is that what you're saying?!?
Not quite. You're human and it's important for your league mates to see that too. The way to approach both effective assumption of good intent AND doing no harm is through GOOD COMMUNICATION and BUILDING TRUST.
The 4 tips above can help you make sure that your communication as a leader within your league is positive overall. Really it's the Golden Rule.
Do no harm, assume others mean no harm, and see your league flourish.
**This post was inspired by the book: Be Excellent at Anything by Tony Schwartz