This is part 1 in the “Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team” series.
When you see the word tension, you usually think about things like conflict, stress, strain, or pressure. No leader wants these things for his team. These things will cause a team to self-destruct. It will implode and destroy anything connected to it.
Leaders spend a great deal of time working on relieving tension from the team. By the time a leader realizes that tension is present on his team, it is probably already causing trouble. The results of tension are simply acknowledging the deeper problems that have been missed or left unchecked.
In this opening post dealing with tension, let’s take a closer look at the four words already given that are usually linked to it:
- CONFLICT keeps a team from working smoothly and orderly. It pits people against each other and breeds the wrong kind of competition. Conflict creates a “look out for #1” mentality. Instead of working like a team, they will work like individual enemies.
- STRESS causes nerves and tempers to flare. When people are operating under stress they will not act rationally. Decisions will be made more out of desperation and revenge than logic. They will operate more in reaction mode than action mode.
- STRAIN makes for an unhappy environment. Creativity is stifled because no one wants to be there. Team members stop conversing on a personal level. They begin to highlight only the negative issues they see, and that is all they WILL see. When strained, teams do not have each other’s back, and will soon start to undercut the others on the team.
- PRESSURE is a sign of deeper problems. Just like a fever is the indicator of an infection or something more serious, pressure affects a team the same way. It reveals that there are problems on the team. Ask questions like: Who is it affecting? What is causing it? When is it most prevalent? Why has it not been alleviated? How can we solve it and keep the team intact?
In the next posts, I will be dealing with negative and positive tension on a team. It will require you to be honest with the results you find and willing to do something about it.
To read more material by Dr. Agan, go to www.rodneyagan.com