Creating disengagement

I serve on a volunteer committee that’s been meeting every two weeks for 4 months. In my 30 years of volunteering for this organization, this is the most frustrating experience to date.

We have another meeting today. I can’t believe how I’ve gone from fully engaged to now not caring what happens. I’m attending just to fulfill my obligation but I’ve recently considered resigning.

So here’s a recipe for how to turn someone from fully engaged to a hair’s breadth away from exiting.

  • Make changes to other people’s areas of responsibility without their input. They will feel like you’re trying to take over; that their work isn’t valued, and they will lose any interest in doing anything.
  • Ignore input from others. Even if they worked for many hours, don’t include their work in what gets moved forward. Or better yet, don’t even read it. Offer no explanation on why their work is being ignored.
  • Be childish. If someone doesn’t agree with you, get defensive. Say things like, “I’m going to put my foot down” or “over my dead body,” or “I won’t work like this, so I’m not coming to the meeting.”
  • Be terse in your communication. When someone asks for elaboration, give one-or two-word responses. Act like it was a stupid question.
  • Be stubborn. If someone says they didn’t receive something you say you’ve sent say you’ve already sent the info and refuse to send it again. Or imply that they must be an idiot to not have received it.
  • Insist on doing things your way, even if others don’t think that’s the best.
  • “Forget” what’s been previously decided and move forward with whatever you wanted, even if the group has decided something different.

I know you’re smart enough to know that I’m really suggesting the opposite of the above to ensure anyone working on any project is fully engaged.

What could you add to the list that has made you disengaged?