Personal Disagreements and Difficult Performance Problems.

It always amazes me how much information there is in the Bible about how to get along with and interact with other people. It also amazes me how right on it is and how consistent it is with my philosophy of human interaction. Consider for example the passage from Matthew’s gospel 18:15-20.

“Jesus said to his disciples, “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. “

As I have noted in The Ten Commandments of Management, there is a process that one needs to go through when you are giving performance feedback or dealing with interpersonal problems. First you must meet with the individual and tell them what you want to talk about. Then you need to state the issue, the disagreement or the problem. Then you must gain agreement. This is the tricky part. As the passage from Matthew questions, does the person hear you? Do they get what it is that you are talking about? I have called it gaining agreement.

If not, you cannot move forward to a solution. Again, this two thousand year old book nails it. If the person, the member, does not listen to you then the next thing you are to do is to bring along some other independent people who will be there to listen as well.

This is possible in an organizational environment. A trusted HR person can play this role, maybe your manager; the idea is right. Bring an independent third party along so that they can help you and the employee hear each other.

Finally if this does not work then a wider group needs to be brought in. Finally if all else fails then the relationship might have to be terminated.

Following the steps that I have outlined in The Ten Commandments of Management and those supported by the Biblical text, will serve you well when dealing with difficult performance and interpersonal issues.

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