Sometimes I find working with others less preferable than doing something myself. Sometimes it’s quite obvious that you can’t take on something yourself, that you need a team. With these both in mind, more often than not, I work on a team, doing my independent thing, and then we come together and meet. And at these meetings we share what’s been going on, and question one another about what help we need from one another.

I had a difficult message to send on Friday regarding our team. I feel there is lingering dysfunction that surfaces from time to time, and I immediately focus back on the book we’ve read both at work and for class here at VCU, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. What’s important to note is that I’m not the “defined” leader on the team; at least not in the structural sense. I am a team member… so I can’t think about this in terms of the CEO in the book. I took the time to write my boss about my concerns and he brought them wrapped in his own perspective to the team. A discussion ensued. While the issues cannot be resolved in one meeting, the start was established. I hope it continues in a positive direction.

My boss framed the whole issue with a question he likes to ask himself. “Do I enjoy coming to work today? Why? Why not?” He told us if you aren’t answering that question in the affirmative very often, it’s time for change. This was a great way to frame things. He said he sensed tension amongst the team. I think the tension was not necessarily with one another, but our jobs.

The pressures of trying to do more with less (less pay, fewer support colleagues, and new expectations) is a difficult situation. We will get stressed. Another team member said she felt the group was like a family. A team as a family. That is a good reason to come to work.

All families have their struggles, too. The advice going forward to deal with these type of “family” issues is to not hold back. I identified my desire to avoid conflict at times in my self-assessment earlier this year. I think this reflection and our last meeting – with affirmation that we should share our discontent when appropriate – will help me overcome my natural avoidance of conflict.

Dealing with conflict and working towards resolution can make for a healthier team – and better outcomes of the work we share.


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