Is Harmony Holding Your Team Back?

Team Harmony WEB SMLThere is no blueprint for teams because every team is different, and every individual member of the team is different. Both teams and individuals have goals, challenges, levels of expertise, and experiences. These differences can be the catalyst for chaos. While we are finally learning how diversity of ideas and opinions is a good idea, are we equipped at handling the chaos that can bring?

Corralling Chaos

While corralling chaos might be possible, it’s difficult and chaos is always on the tipping point of becoming uncorralable. OK, that’s not a word, apologies to Merriam-Webster. However, this is not to say that disharmony is unacceptable, but disharmony cannot be allowed to grow into chaos. In other words, disharmony can bring value to a team’s efforts, but it must come with a set of rules. As a “disclaimer” we are not talking about creating disharmony just for “fun,” making changes for the sake of change and disruption or being vindictive. Taking this a step further, it is every team member’s responsibility to support and enforce those rules and the top management team should make this a cultural principle. But first let’s look at how disharmony can add value.

The Value of Disharmony

As humans, we do not have to “work at” bringing disharmony, it appears on its own without effort or planning. If you’re a student of people and their different behavioral styles or DISC, need I say more? 

On the other hand, if everyone were just alike with the same perspectives, opinions. and ideas, what do we need teams for then? We wouldn’t need business partners, or even political parties. (Please don’t send me mail over that one.) Therefore, we have people, we have discourse.

The value of discourse is that, according to a book by Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma, too much harmony “breeds decline and extinction” as quoted from an article in Harvard Business Review. Think about products we enjoy today because someone was unhappy about not having a tool or gizmo that did such and such. So, no discourse, no innovation. The world would indeed be a dull environment. In fact, suppressing discourse or different opinions, can lead to greater chaos and everyone blows up. And you know that always happens on the worst possible day, like when the local business newspaper comes in to do a story on why your company is the best place to work. Oy!

The Rules of Disharmony

While disagreement, debate, and some disharmony can be “exciting,” there are rules of the road.

  • Respect – Members of a team cannot be allowed to reticule, bully, or harass another member because of their ideas. Everyone’s ideas must be heard and given some modicum of consideration.
  • Self-awareness – People have great EQ (Emotional Quotient) when they are self-aware. Further, EQ is the ability to sense, understand, and regulate to effectively apply the power of your emotions. Having a team of people with high EQ will allow for differences, the debate of those differences, while maintaining productivity and meeting goals.
  • Understanding Behaviors – When people understand, appreciate, and adapt to accommodate behaviors of others, the project at hand reaches its end game much more quickly and smoothly.
  • Psychologically Safety – When EQ and understanding behaviors is in place, people feel psychologically safe in presenting innovative ideas, debating, and expressing opinions. Everyone has a voice, and everyone gets heard without shouting or incident.

This is the path to less harmony and more innovation. To find out how to implement your team’s understanding of these concepts, Let's get started.

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