every team has friction. You have people who ‘cross lines’, think rules
only apply to everyone else in your team and never them, who don’t do what
they promised, disagree over priorities or behave in ways that upset the
rest of us. And confrontation becomes necessary.
Of the 10 Dimensions in
our Team Functionality Survey I use to help teams like yours identify
strengtheners and drainers, one of the most prolific repeat themes that
keeps coming up is how well or not we handle difficult team moments (DTMs).
I’ve always believed it’s
how teams deal with DTMs that makes all the difference. Of course, we both
know that many teams love to dismiss conflict and dysfunctional behaviour
as a ‘personality clash’ – as if it’s inevitable, unavoidable and
For me, admitting we have
differences to resolve is the first step in coping constructively with
them. The second step is mastering the emotional self-control and
conversational courage to navigate those DTM’s in a balanced way that
doesn’t leave us feeling as if we’ve just been put through the wash on a
dysfunctional teams, where difficult discussions get handled poorly, feuds
fester and bitterness lingers. A repeated complaint you hear is how the
behaviour of a few spoil it for the rest of us when strong personalities
Dominating team-mates who
are always at each other, can pull down the performance, focus and morale
of the whole team. We can’t seem to bring things out in the open and sort
them. People are quick to point the finger, blame, judge and talk-behind
backs rather than discuss their issues with the people that concern them
openly and frankly.
I hope it’s not like that
in your team but I suspect we all have a bit of this now and again. For
more about what trips up teams from time to time see my
Article on 12 Team Trip Ups.
Of course some of us pretend we all get along and have no issues.
Ostrich-like, there’s times we’ve all put our head in the sand and said
things are fine. Or we’ve entertained a splendid but futile "hope it goes
away" mentality, or put up a fake façade of harmony that deters us from
having the constructive confrontations you need to have to sort things out
and get your team back on a functional footing.
recrimination, reprisals, accusations and other toxic behaviours over time
create stress-pits that drain your resilience, positivity and performance.
Gee but let’s not get
carried away with the negatives! Isn’t it so
great to also witness good teams be able to confront hard issues, give
difficult feedback and still retain strong relationships!
what our Dealing with Difficult
Discussions program is aimed at doing – helping you with the 3
R’s – Resolving the issue, Restoring Relationships and Reconciling
differences. Why not join me at one of our next
Difficult Discussions clinics
coming up near you...
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