January 23, 2014   by

How to manage them

STICKY SITUATIONS IN THE CHAMA One of the biggest headaches any Chama leader faces is dealing with people problems.

Whether it is telling someone they must improve their meeting attendance, or they cannot continue to come in late for meetings, sticky situations arise in every Chama.  The truth is many Chamas comprise of friends or relatives who come together to pool money towards investments.  Thus when one of them is not doing things right, many of us spend sleepless nights wondering what to say and how to say it wondering if we should say it now or wait until another time, or wondering what will happen if we don’t say it.  In this article we give you three tips to manage sticky situations in your Chama.

Treat people like adults

Sometimes as leaders, we forget that we are dealing with adults. Adults make adult-like decisions. This means that they do not act without thinking.  If the treasurer decided to steal money from the till, they didn’t just suddenly do it. They thought it out and acted knowing they may have to face consequences. That’s what adults do. We do understand right from wrong.

If we treat the person like a child, we belittle them and take away their dignity. Instead, we must give them the benefit of the doubt and show a willingness to listen to their side of the story, no matter what they did. There was a certain Chama leader. She had a trusted treasurer. One day, she learned that this trusted treasurer had stolen money from the Chama. She skimmed off the fines that could not be traced. The Chama leader was shocked. She felt betrayed. The treasurer gave her many reasons for her behavior, including that she had a child who needed school fees she couldn’t afford. This lady didn’t suddenly decide to steal money, she thought about it. She justified her behavior.   The Chama leader listened to her side of the story and showed empathy. By doing that, she worked out a mutually acceptable solution. The treasurer paid back every cent, and quietly left the Chama and the Chama leader agreed not to report her behavior to the other Chama members.


Recognize you may be a contributing factor

Taking responsibility for your actions leads to resolving problems. Challenge each party in a dispute to talk about what they would do to resolve the problem. What would they do to change their behavior? Even if you feel blameless, there’s always something you can contribute to the resolution. Once you take responsibility for your role, the other person shows a greater willingness to recognize theirs.

Don’t corner people

Many sticky situations are embarrassing. People know they have done something they should not, and they don’t want to be caught. Even though you must confront people with their behavior, don’t make them feel cornered. If they see no way out, no resolution, they fight back and the situation gets even worse. When you show understanding and a willingness to listen, you demonstrate that you believe there is a way out. Even in the worst case scenarios, don’t corner or challenge people to fight you.




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