Once you have strengthened your inspiration (values, vision, mission) then we can take a closer look at how to work with agreements to address behavior that is having a negative impact on the group.
1. Remember, your culture shapes what is possible, and it’s a product of all that happens.
Think about how the culture in your group allows for the bad behavior. Then take responsibility for that. What implicit agreements exist in the group that allow people to continue to act in ways that are difficult for others? What can you do to change the agreements in your group – not just between you and that individual – about what is acceptable and what is not?
2. Make sure you have strong agreements.
Agreements that declare what people are supposed to do to achieve your vision are the key to getting and keeping people on board. Agreements about conduct are just as important as agreements about job performance. Does your group have the kind of agreements that make it clear what is expected of everyone? Have people been able to ask for what they need to do their best work? Is it clear what is not acceptable? Are people willing to call each other back to those agreements? Are agreements breaking down? Are multiple people contributing to that?
3. Practice accountability.
There is no benefit in having a list of core values or ground rules if people are not held accountable to them. In fact, it can be counter-productive. Saying something is valued and important but not requiring everyone to live up to it just breeds cynicism. Loss of commitment and contribution usually follow. Get clear about what important words like “respect” or “quality” mean in your organization and then hold each other accountable to them. Help each other protect your values and vision so they can support you.
4. If all this fails, help them move on.
When you’ve done everything there is to do to invite and encourage each person to join in the group’s vision but still someone continues to be a drag, it is clear that their interests and needs do not match those of the group. Then it is crucial to compassionately help them to leave. Cultures need boundaries. When you allow someone in your group that is not living up to your values then the real culture you have is one that is not committed to those things you say are important.
When you take responsibility for what is actually happening in your group, together you can seize the opportunity to renew your values, reinforce your vision and achieve your mission. Everyone will benefit.