Boy…That Escalated Quickly!


If there is one thing we can all agree on when it comes to doing life together, it’s this fact, conflict will happen.

But what do we do as a small group leader when there is that one constant prickly pear in the group? The one person who always seems upset about everything. Their Facebook feed is full of angry rants and a conversation with them is like the comment section of their disgruntled posts on fire.

In the book Leadership Keys Field Guide, Dr. Redlan S. Nadler gives us as leaders an awesome process to follow when it comes to dealing with a disgruntled group member. He calls the process the Emotional Audit.


When To Use

 Use the Emotional Audit whenever you are feeling frustrated with, or dealing with someone who may seem impatient, irritated, or other like emotions to help identify the problem and be more strategic in your coaching of them.


The Emotional Audit

 Here is an example on how to use the Emotional Audit:

 Mike is a group member who seems to get irritated a lot, especially during group time, where he felt he was wasting his time. One night he got so hot and upset about a new study the group started that he threw his book and stormed out of the room. Let’s look at his Emotional Audit. Here are Mike’s answers:


  1. What are you thinking?

“This study makes no sense and it’s just a giant waste of time ____________ (expletive) versus a book of the Bible. I can’t believe how dumb this is!”


  1. What are you feeling?

“Frustrated, angry, and helpless.”


  1. What do you want now?

“I just want to study God’s word, not somebody’s interpretation of it. I want to tell everyone that I don’t agree with this and we shouldn’t do it.”


  1. How are you getting in your own way?

“My anger is preventing them from really hearing my point of view. I am scaring some of them. They see me as out of control and are not listening.”


  1. What do you need to do differently now?”

“Take some deep breaths, relax, and address this concern with my group leader outside of the meeting. During group time is probably not the best place to address my concerns right now.”


The Emotional Audit is a great tool we can use to not only help coach a disgruntled group member, it can help us continue to grow as a leader.

  • What am I thinking?
  • What am I feeling?
  • What do I want now?
  • How am I getting in my way?
  • What do I need to do differently now?



*The Emotional Audit excerpt from: Reldan S Nadler PsyD. “Leadership Keys Field Guide:  Emotional Intelligence Tools for Great Leadership.”

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Danny is the Life Groups Connections Director at Newbreak Church in San Diego, CA. Helping new people get connected at Newbreak and into life groups are his passion. His role as Life Groups champion gives him the opportunity to train and develop Life Group staff, coaches, and leaders at all five Newbreak campuses. He and his wife, Jennifer, have been married thirteen years and have three boys together, Cash, Colt, and Jase. Danny also loves road cycling and the outdoors.


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