tug-of-war2This is part 2 in the “Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team” series. See Part 1

In Part 1, we looked at four words associated with tension. They are: conflict, stress, strain, or pressure.  Tension on a team can be fatal.  Teams are made of team members who are diverse to say the least.  They all have different temperaments and personalities.  Using the certain personal assessment tools overview of the diversity a team can have.  Personal Coaching and team development allows you to go to deeper levels. You learn your strengths, stresses, and passions.

The word tension can defined as, “the act of stretching or straining.”  Both are action words and both create a pull in different directions.  Both are action words and both create a pull in different directions; therefore, we get “tension”.  Note there is a positive side, “stretching”, and a negative side, “straining”.

Leaders realize that a diverse team is a good thing.  The worst thing a leader can have is a team of clones. The way I look at, I can do what I can do.  I need people around me that are good at doing things I am not good at doing.  The problem is that diversity of personalities can create negative tension.

Let me give you a list of some of the effects of negative tension:

  1. Unhealthy Competition – The right kind of “free market” competition is good, the wrong kind can kill you.  The team will begin to try to undercut their peers because they will see them as competition.
  2. Personalities – Negative tension always brings out the worst in people.  We all know the potential is there, we just suppress it.  When you get dominate, passionate people working against each other, they will butt heads more often than not.
  3. Unmet Expectations – No doubt your team has the desire to succeed or they would not be on your team.  When one fails, the team begins to fail.  The bar of success gets lowered for the team, and each person lowers their own personal goals for success.  The person who is still passionate will feel frustrated.
  4. A Martyr Mentality – They will say or feel things like, “I am the only one doing my job.  I am doing my job and their job.  It’s just not fair, etc.”  I think you get the gist.  They come across as being the ‘savior’ of the team.
  5. Disloyalty – After the other things begin to form, disloyalty will set it. First, the team members will become disloyal to each other.  Second, they will become disloyal to the leader.  Last, they will become disloyal to the cause.
  6. A Spreading Disease – When the steps of disloyalty start it will soon spread beyond the team.  Their family and friends will begin to get involved.  The people that are following the team will get a bad attitude about the team members, the leader, and the cause.
  7. Implosion – All that is left is the eulogy.  The gusto and drive is gone.  The heart of the team and the cause has been gutted.  When the vision is lost, it’s over.  Later people will look back at the team and the cause and wonder what happened.  They will think it was a faulty vision, or a lack opportunity and resources, but the real problem would be “negative tension.”

To read more material by Dr. Agan, go to www.rodneyagan.com

Article by Rodney Agan


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