Performing Teams Govern by Reason – Not Emotion

Performing Teams Govern by Reason – Not Emotion

The epic corporate collision. Our team mate omits us from a communication – we stomp, pout, call down plagues upon them and cross them off the Xmas card list.

We may later regret our reaction and then write it off with the justification that our emotions got the better of us; in effect playing to the notion that anger stems from uncontrollable passion.

Uncontrollable is the key word here. Really? Are we going to live with that behaviour – that we and our Team temperament are at the mercy of uncontrollable emotion and meaning?

There is another view.

Those breakdowns occur not through an uncontrolled emotion but through a lack of basic and CORRECTABLE reasoning.

Is it reasonable to expect that our teammates will always do what they promised, to not fail, or change their view or action?

What harms team spirit and performance is hopeless optimism. We signed up to this alliance, collaborative spirit or these joint goals and now someone’s gone off track or renegade.

Dangerously optimistic notions about the world and other people are at the source of much frustration and show up in our communication:

He should of…

She ought to have..

It shouldn’t be like this…

She shouldn’t have..

He should have known better…

It’s about the expectation of normal. We don’t react badly to the nutritionally devoid foodstuff we get served up at the burger joint –  because that’s normal and expected. But when we feel we are entitled to a certain thing such as the teammate who’ll never let us down our desire and entitlement provokes unreasonable expectation and emotional response.

In my work with teams who aspire to high performance or to conduct themselves in a collaborative manner the problem is not that they occasionally fall of their bikes – its that they then see that problem as a sign of failure and lessen their commitment in the team approach or lose faith in their colleagues. The ‘problem’ was not a problem until we made it one.

We should be more thoughtful and reasoned in adjusting the scale of our expectation.

There is also another interesting trait of those in relationships that contributes to the dissatisfaction.

The more we know someone, the more we expect them to read our minds or recognize our needs no matter how badly we articulate them. Ask my wife. I’m constantly caught out by her inability to read my covert, wooly signals and messages…

Our frustration with our fellow humans will be lessened when we surrender to the fact that our reasoning was off beam, our expectations hopelessly optimistic and the necessary imperfection of teams.

If the power of a team is not its ability to counter as a whole the individual imperfections, then what is it for?

Reasoning comes through dialogue and examination of beliefs, frustrations and understanding the validity of expectation. Reasoning requires some space and time in order to head off the greater waste of time, energy and effort in the unraveling of false and divisive assumptions.

Collaborative Teams are still set up on a foundation of hope. The hope that with little time, effort and nurturing that they’ll make it and make it big. The reasoned view would be to see this as the nonsense it is and cease to be less hopeful and more active in doing the work.



Paul Fox

Paul Fox has been active as a Construction Industry Performance Coach for the last 20 years and remains at the forefront of Collaborative Working and High Performance Team Behaviours. He disrupts the status quo of individuals, project and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle.

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