Pray about Team Dynamics

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington and Adam Messner

Adam Messner, our Guest, felt God-directed to leave his software development job to go back to grad school and obtain an MBA.The biggest challenge he faced while there was differences among people, or interpersonal dynamics. Read on to learn how prayer can make a positive difference in effective team building.

Adam explains:

The biggest challenge in grad school was dealing with differences. Coming into an MBA program, people have had time to mature and know what they want to get out of grad school. Most people have worked from 2-5 years before they go back to business school.

In businesses, there is a hierarchy, a manager, a person in authority monitoring situations. If someone isn't delivering, the boss is there to step in and deal with the situation. But this is not the case in grad school, where we do our work in teams. Rarely did we work as individuals. The interpersonal dynamics are really critical to finding enjoyment in the program. Everyone is pretty much on a peer level, and the faculty doesn't want to get involved. They expect a team to produce whatever is needed, and deal with the dynamics themselves.

So I prayed about team dynamics. I trusted that everyone had something to bring to the group and was there because he wanted to be there. I looked for the good in everyone and recognized and expressed gratitude for each one's contributions. For the most part, this attitude resolved any problems we encountered.

One Bible story that was particularly helpful was that of Jesus being at dinner with the Pharisee when the unclean woman comes in and anoints Jesus' feet (Luke 7:36-50). The Pharisee had a definite and negative reaction; he was not able to see the good in the woman. But Jesus was.

Jesus' view of her brought about progress in her thought, and she walked away whole and complete because of Jesus' acknowledgement of her true being. Throughout grad school, I held to that type of idea -- seeing others' true being -- for my different team members. We had challenges, but never was I penalized nor did I feel like I suffered because of someone else's inaction.

Editor's Note:
Whenever we're faced with personality differences, we have a choice: We can either be like the Pharisee and have a negative reaction, or we can follow Jesus' example, like Adam did, and see the good in others. When we appreciate the good in others, not only is it easier to work with them, but they may also wish to contribute more. Perhaps their lives may be transformed. Perhaps we can help them find talents they didn't know they had, which could be a benefit to the project. When we work "together for good" (Rom 8:28), the resulting product is always exemplary.