Here’s how you end up with a bully in a position of authority at a synagogue:
Someone points out that the bully is a real problem. And the board member says, “I know he’s a bully, but he’s really influential and we can’t afford to remove him.”
And here’s how you end up with a naysayer, or a toxic congregant:
Someone points out that people are afraid to work with this person. And the board member says, “I know, but we really need her financial contributions.”
And, person by person, trait by trait, we build a broken synagogue because we believe that function trumps cooperation, inspiration and care.
Until it doesn’t, and then, all we’ve got left is a mess.
The negative people who do nothing functional are an easy decision. It’s the little compromises around people who seem to add value that corrupt what we seek to create.
Build a team of people who work together, who care and who learn and you’ll end up with the board and a synagogue you deserve. Build the opposite and you also get what you deserve.
Function is never an excuse for a dysfunctional organization, because we get the synagogue we compromise for.
(Adapted from Seth Godin’s blogpost: “Function (and the dysfunctional organization)”