ARE YOU A VICTIM OF ARTIFICIAL HARMONY?
It is the silent killer of effective team work in families and work. It robs us of time, energy and real connection with other human beings.
Artificial harmony is described as “making nice”. That is when we act like we are getting along yet there are resentments, frustration, and grudges being held against teammates and family members.
The ego wants to maintain a false sense of peace. So we keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves at all costs. The cost of doing this is high. It costs us:
- Team camaraderie
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL HARMONY COSTING YOU? YOUR BUSINESS? YOUR FAMILY?
Artificial harmony gets in the way of productivity and cohesion in the workplace.
For example, a client of mine once told me that to avoid upsetting her co-worker, she wouldn’t speak up. She felt that the situation escalated to such a point that it was beyond repair. The artificial harmony she created cost her time, countless hours of sleep, stress, and anxiety from juggling all these people to keep them happy.
Another client of mine said he was supposed to collaborate on a project with someone from a different team. Their initial interaction did not go the way he wanted. So, instead of having a healthy debate of ideas and being straight with his co-worker, he decided the best way to get the project done was to go home and do it himself. What he realized afterward was this decision:
- Undermined his co-worker
- Made himself look bad
- Damaged the trust even more
One way of dealing with conflict is to avoid it, like my two clients did. On the other end of the spectrum is destructive conflict—mean spirited personal attacks and workplace bullying.
This type of aggressive behavior is disrespectful and hurtful. It robs the team of getting everyone’s input. It is like trying to ride a bicycle with half the spokes broken.
Imagine a conflict continuum. On one side is no conflict and the other end is destructive conflict. According to Patrick Lencioni, there is a middle point that teams should strive to live at. It is at the point where debates can get a little heated and yet there is still honor and respect.
What end of the conflict continuum spectrum do you fall?
What about your team?
Artificial harmony makes teams appear healthy because there is no conflict and being nice is super respectful. What is happening underneath is a break in the foundation where you might find silos, fragile egos, limited trust, and underperforming teams. The inability to handle conflict in a proactive way is one of the biggest complaints I hear.
10 TIPS TO AVOID THE PITFALLS OF ARTIFICIAL HARMONY
1. Stop taking things personally. It seems personal and it is not personal.
2. Welcome and encourage the conflict.
3. Identify the root causes of the conflict.
4. Clarify roles and goals.
5. As the leader, encourage a healthy debate of ideas and thoughts.
6. Make passionate discussions the norm.
7. Get out of your comfort zone.
8. Let go of certainty. Speak up more.
9. Really listen to other points of view.
Being a victim or playing small does not serve the world. Playing big and having a voice to speak your truth in an honorable way serves the world.
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team allow you to get into reality about how effective and ineffective your team is operating. Open the door and let’s get started in creating awesome workplaces.